Malaysian government remains hung as negotiations continue

Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (C) leaves the press conference at Malaysia's National Palace in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. He is in negotiation in trying to form a new government after the national elections. Photo by Fazry Ismail/EPA-EFE/FAZRY ISMAIL

Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (C) leaves the press conference at Malaysia’s National Palace in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. He is in negotiation in trying to form a new government after the national elections. Photo by Fazry Ismail/EPA-EFE/FAZRY ISMAIL

Nov. 22 (UPI) — The math needed to form a new government in Malaysia remains hung and complicated with the two coalitions that earned the most votes refusing to work out a compromise and with the No. 3-ranked party deciding to remain on the sidelines.

Malaysian King, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, has the final word on who will form the country’s new government but has set a timetable since the Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional coalitions remain short of the 112 seats needed for a parliamentary majority.

He has scheduled meetings with Pakatan leader Anwar Ibrahim, a longtime opposition leader, and Perikatan leader Muhyiddin Yassin on Tuesday.

“I urge the nation to be patient and remain calm until the process of forming a new Malaysian government and selecting a new prime minister is completed,” the king said.

The longtime ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which fell out of favor with voters after a scandal and won only 30 seats, could play kingmaker by taking one side or the other.

But current Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is part of the Barisan Nasional, told the king that it will remain neutral and not join either Pakatan and Perikatan.

Muhyiddin dismissed the idea of working with Anwar in a government where Anwar could be prime minister, even though Pakatan won the most seats in the election with 82. Muhyiddin said his coalition, which won 73 seats, now has the lead after winning support from the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah party with six seats and 23 more from the Gabungan Parti Sarawak party.

The recent Malaysian election led to the country’s first hung parliament in its history. The political upheaval was several years in the making after the powerful United Malays National Organization party, part of Barisan Nasional, was involved in the 1MDB financial scandal. That led to the downfall of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

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