After five days of a hung Parliament following the 15th general election (GE15), the political uncertainty that hovered over Malaysia has finally been cleared with the appointment of Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the country’s 10th Prime Minister.
To be sure, the process to solve the political impasse was not an easy one. For days, 33 million Malaysians, especially the more than 17 million who voted in GE15 on Nov 19, had been kept on tenterhooks following developments to cobble together a new federal government.
The country was left with a hung Parliament for the first time since its first general election in 1955, after no one party or coalition won a simple majority of 112 seats in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat.
That set the two coalitions that won the most number of seats – PH with 82 and Perikatan Nasional (PN) with 73 – into a race to secure the numbers to form the new government.
Apart from PH and PN, other parties that won seats in GE15 are Barisan Nasional (BN) with 30; Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), 23; Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), six; Warisan, three; and Parti Bangsa Malaysia and Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat, with one each. Two independent candidates were also successful in the polls.
According to an Istana Negara statement, after being notified of attempts to form a new government by heads of political parties and coalitions with a substantial number of seats post-GE15, the King found that no one Member of Parliament (MP) had secured a simple majority to be appointed the Prime Minister.
That prompted Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, in his capacity as the Head of State, to seek a solution to break the deadlock on the appointment of the new prime minister and formation of the new government.
His Majesty employed a thorough process to solve the impasse, including summoning the heads of PH and PN for audiences at Istana Negara, before meeting with BN and GPS representatives.
In fact, Al-Sultan Abdullah kept reminding the people almost daily that they needed to stay calm and patient in facing the political uncertainty and to pray for the country to be always blessed and protected from tragedy and calamity.
Al-Sultan Abdullah also convened a special meeting of the Malay Rulers at Istana Negara today to seek their views on His Majesty’s effort regarding the formation of an inclusive Unity Government.
This process enabled Al-Sultan Abdullah to decide on an MP who, in His Majesty’s opinion, commands the majority support of members of the Dewan Rakyat to be the Prime Minister.
After considering the opinions of the Malay Rulers, Al-Sultan Abdullah consented to appoint Anwar, the Tambun MP, as the new Prime Minister, in line with the powers vested upon His Majesty under Articles 40(2)(a) and 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.