Any newspaper in Singapore would now only tell you about two things: FTX’s collapse, or Malaysia’s general elections.
Ostensibly, they’re both dry, boring topics of our world’s macro matters. However, I guarantee you, they’re popcorn-worthy.
Well, at least the latter is.
In case you haven’t heard, Malaysia has seen her first ever hung parliament in its history on 19 November 2022.
As such, the leading coalitions were expected to form alliances and come up with a government by Monday (21 November).
Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Haparan (PH) and Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikitan Nasional (PN), with 82 and 79 seats respectively, had to achieve a simple majority of 112 seats in the 222-seat legislature to form a government.
However, on Monday, neither party was able to produce a confirmation, prompting the Malaysian King to extend their deadline by 24 hours to Tuesday (22 November) 2pm.
In what has already been a rollercoaster of an election, we all thought that that would be the final rule to seal the fate of Malaysia’s parliament.
Unfortunately, we all thought wrong.
Malaysia King to Choose New Prime Minister
As of 22 November 2022 2pm, no alliances have been formed and the parties are at a post-election impasse.
The key kingmaker and once-powerful Barisan Nasional, has decided that it would sit on the fence and not back either bloc.
The party has been split on which coalition to support, with its leader, Ahman Zahid Hamidi, supporting PH but key members of the party supporting BN. Now, it is now choosing to not take sides and remain an opposition.
In other words, no prime minister has been named.
Malaysia now turns to its constitutional monarch, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, to name a new prime minister.
As king, Sultan Abdullah plays a largely ceremonial role in the country’s politics, however, it is not the case this time.
Ironically, the king is the kingmaker.
“Be patient, accept the decision of the people, the decision of the MPs, and the decision of the Agong,” he said. “Be rational, and we have to move on for our beloved country. Allow me to make a decision in the near future.”
After the casting of the votes, while there was a winning party with the most seats, there was no government formed. This was the first time in the nation’s history that there was a hung parliament.
Wait, what? How?
First, let’s understand how the system works.
As we all know, the number of votes is proportional to the number of seats won: more votes equals more seats in parliament. Simple, right?
Next, we have to comprehend how a government is formed.
The government is not formed by the party with the most seats. It is formed by the party with the majority of the seat. In other words, a party has to have not only the most number of seats, but also more than half of the seats, in order to form the government.
In Malaysia’s case, the dominating party, PH secured 82 seats in the 222-member parliament. It secured the most seats, but not the majority. Simply put, it checks only one of the two boxes required.
So, what now?
In this case, since there is no government formed, we refer to the scenario as having a “hung parliament”.
When this happens, parties can band together and form alliances. Through this, they form larger bodies and their seats are combined. This would allow parties to check the second box in forming a government.
Since there was no government formed in Malaysia’s case, the King has decided to step in.
At the time of writing, there still had been no news of the case.
So, for now, all we can do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
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Featured Image: Parties’ Press Conference