A man watches television on display at a shop as Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announces the dissolution of parliament as he addresses the nation during a live telecast, in Bentong, Malaysia's Pahang state, on Oct 10, 2022.
Malaysia is gearing up for an
intense political campaign season,
with a range of coalitions and
former top leaders vying for power
in a general election next month.
Ten days after Ismail Sabri Yaakob in his role as prime minister announced the dissolution of parliament, Election Commission Chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said last week that Malaysia’s general election will be held on Nov 19
Ten days after Ismail Sabri Yaakob
in his role as prime minister
announced the dissolution of parliament, Election Commission Chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said last
week that Malaysia’s general election will be held on Nov 19.
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Sabri is now serving in a caretaker
capacity as early jockeying among
politicians gets underway.
Nominations for candidates must
be received by Nov 5, paving way for
a 14-day campaigning period.
The United Malays National
Organization, or UMNO, which
dominates the ruling Barisan
Nasional coalition, or BN, is seen as
the strongest party going into the
election. UMNO President Ahmad
Zahid Hamidi is fielding Ismail
Sabri as the party’s candidate for
prime minister if the coalition wins.
Despite its strong position, BN is
facing tough competition from other parties. Its former ally, the Parti
Islam Se-Malaysia, has joined hands
with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia
to form the Perikatan Nasional coalition. The opposition Pakatan Harapan, which ended BN’s 60-year
reign in the 2018 elections, has
scheduled a convention late in the
evening on Thursday to prepare for
the general elections — the 15th to
be staged in Malaysia.
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Mahathir Mohamad, a former
prime minister who led the Pakatan
Harapan coalition during the historic 2018 polls, will run again but
under a different party following his
split with the outfit.
Mahathir, who represents the
northern Malaysian district of
Langkawi, will defend his parliamentary seat under the Gerakan
Tanah Air coalition. Mahathir has
said in media interviews that he is
willing to take the reins of his nation
again “if there’s a request”.
Analysts are expecting a hung
parliament, with no coalition seen
winning a simple majority.
“Mahathir is a spent force in this
election,” said Wong Chin Huat, a
political expert at Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur. Wong said the
GTA, which was only formed in
August, will be contesting in an
“overcrowded market of Malay Muslim nationalist voters”.
Hafidzi Razali, senior analyst at
risk consultancy BowerGroupAsia,
does not expect the Pakatan Harapan to be able to replicate its victory
in the 2018 elections.
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Hafidzi said a high voter turnout
and a united front are required in
order for the opposition to cause an
upset next month. Meanwhile, the
monsoon season might deter people
from going to polling booths, resulting in lower voter turnout.
“These two factors may swing the
favor to Barisan Nasional,” he said.
But Wong said the monsoon season might be a deciding factor in the
elections. He said flooding will
affect many constituencies or even cause a postponement.