Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said he is confident his Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition will secure a simple majority, even though the opposition alliance is facing multi-cornered fights in the Nov 19 General Election.
Datuk Seri Anwar was dismissive of analysts’ predictions that no coalition in the country will be able to get the majority needed to form the government.
“Who said we are not expected? Well, I don’t know whether analysts have gone down to the ground. I have covered almost the entire country and I must say, realistically, there is that possibility that we may be able to reach a simple majority. We just have to work a bit harder and push a bit more,” he was quoted as saying.
A minimum of 112 seats are needed for a simple majority in the 222-seat Parliament.
There are currently two other main coalitions in Malaysia, Barisan Nasional (BN) and Perikatan Nasional (PN).
The latest survey by Merdeka Center for Opinion Research conducted from Nov 5 to Nov 8 found that PH is the preferred coalition to run the federal government among slightly over one-third of West Malaysians, and that Anwar is also the preferred choice for prime minister.
However, the same survey found that there was growing support for PN among Malay respondents, especially among those aged 18 to 20.
Anwar, 75, made a similar assertion of confidence last week when he said: “I have been on the ground and it is a tight race. But we can move further into the rural heartland and secure a simple majority.”
Similarly, rival BN too has projected it can clinch at least 112 seats in the national polls, based on its analysis of current voter trends.
Caretaker Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, whose party Umno is the linchpin of BN, said voters have warmed up to BN.
“Voters have compared the performance of the PH government after the 2018 General Election with the success of BN’s administration before that. So they are more confident that BN is capable of taking the country to a greater height,” he said on Thursday.
PN has also claimed it can get the minimum of 112 seats, with its election director Azmin Ali going to the extent of saying it was not impossible for the coalition to obtain a two-thirds majority.
Merdeka Center called the present situation “very fluid” and noted that the tight races in many seats make the outcomes hard to tell at this point.
It said in a scenario in which BN begins to lose Malay support and it gets transferred to PN, “no single coalition will be dominant”.
In this case, PN would likely try to form a new coalition government with BN and political parties and coalitions in Sabah and Sarawak.
PH could well attempt to form a coalition government by gaining a simple majority in Parliament in alliance with parties in Sabah and Sarawak, or even BN, the respected pollster said.