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Malaysian king says leading coalitions don’t have the numbers to form a government

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Voters queue up to cast their ballots during the general election in Bera of Pahang state, Malaysia, Nov. 19, 2022.
Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Malaysia’s longest ruling political coalition Barisan Nasional has decided it will not back either of the two leading coalitions Pakatan Harapan or Perikatan Nasional as the nation’s king decides who will form government.

The coalition, which garnered a dismal 30 seats at Saturday’s general election, has also decided to remain in opposition. This is one of the coalition’s worst election results in 60 years’ of rule, after it failed to be re-elected in 2018 amid Barisan member and former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal.

Incumbent Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the coalition’s decision at 2 p.m. Malaysia time as both Pakatan and Perikatan were on their way to meet the king.

Separately, local media reported the Warisan Party declared it would support Pakatan and Barisan as the bloc with the most wins. This comes just as Barisan said it would not partner with Pakatan.

Malaysia is facing a hung parliament as Pakatan, led by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, with the most parliamentary seats at 82. A coalition would need 112 seats out of 222 to form government.

The king, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will now review election results and deals struck by Pakatan and Perikatan to decide on the government and prime minister.

The king briefly spoke to the public after he arrived at the Istana Negara. Speaking to reporters at the Istana, he called on the Malaysians to be patient and respect the decisions of voters.

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