Sosyal Medya


New Government in Malaysia

Mohammad Nadimur Rahman

Malaysia is a country with a multi-religious and multiracial society. Around 63.5 % of the population are Muslim, while other religions, including Buddhism (18.7 %), Christianity (9.1 %), and Hinduism (1.3 %), are practised by different people. Meanwhile, Malaysia is segregated into different races. For instance, despite 67.4 % of the population being original Malaysians, the population comprises other races, including Chinese (24.6%), Indian (7.3%) and other races. Malaysia comprises 13 states and three federal territories, including Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan. Although the federal government mainly runs the administration of the country under the direction of the Prime Minister, there is also a separate state government in each state where the chief minister runs the administration in each respective state. Like the federal parliament, there are also state parliamentary systems in each state.

A glance at the Malaysian System of Government

In the general election, Malaysia follows the West minster parliamentary system combined with parliamentary democracy at a federal and state level. There are nine kings in nine important states in Malaysia. These states are Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu. All the kings except those of Perlis and Negeri Sembilan are known as ‘Sultan’. The king of Perlis is known as ‘Raja’ while the king of Negeri Sembilan is called ‘Yang di-Pertuan Besar’. One of the King is elected as the head of the state of Malaysia for every five years term, who is known as ‘Yang di-Pertuan Agong’. He is the one who gives oath to the newly appointed Prime Minister of Malaysia. As a whole, the primary responsibility of the ‘Yang di-Pertuan Agong’ is to act as an advisor to the country. For instance, if the political parties face difficulties in forming a federal government, the Agong can choose a person and appoint him as a prime minister after consulting with other kings of different states. The name of the current ‘Yang di-Pertuan Agong’ is Abdullah who is the Sultan of Pahang.

Malaysia has different political parties, including the party ruled by the newly appointed Prime Minister Anowar Ibrahim that is known as the People’s Justice Party (PKR), the nationalist party known as United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the Islamic Party of Malaysia known as Pan Malaysia Islamic party (PAS), the Chinese based communist party known as Democratic Action Party (DAP) and also other small local and national parties. Another party, AMANAH, was formed by some leaders and a group of people who split from the Islamic party (PAS). UMNO is the oldest party in Malaysia. They were in power from independence with an alliance of some small political parties in Malaysia known as the National Coalition (BN) of the country from 1957 until 2018. Although they failed to win the 2018 general election, they again returned to power in 2020 and remain in the chair until 2022.

Mahathir and Anowar Coalition

The 14th general election was held in Malaysia on 9th May 2018. During this election, it was the first time in the history of Malaysia that the nationalist party UMNO failed to form the federal government because of losing the simple majority in parliament’s seats. The main reason behind the loss of UMNO is the division within the party. The former prime minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohammad and other UMNO leaders split from UMNO and formed another political party known as BERSATU. This party allied with the current prime minister Anowar Ibrahim’s party PKR against UMNO and formed the government by winning the simple majority parliament seats. After that, Dr. Mahathir Mohammad again became the prime minister of Malaysia after almost two decades. Although he could run the administration successfully until 2020, an internal control occurred among the administration for the government to collapse, and Mahathir Mohammad left his newly formed party, BERSATU. After that, the new BERSATU leader Mohyuddin became the prime minister, and other parties including UMNO and PAS, backed him. However, the government again collapsed after one year, after which Ismail Sabri, the deputy president of UMNO, became the prime minister.

19th November 2022 election

The 15th general election of Malaysia was held on 19th November 2022. It was considered the extraordinary general election in the history of Malaysia, where no party of alliance got even a simple majority of parliamentary seats required for a party of alliance to form a federal government. Almost all the largest parties participated in this general election under different alliances. For instance, the party of current prime minister Anowar Ibrahim allied with DAP and AMANAH under the alliance known as The Alliance of Hope (PH), and the nationalist party UMNO made a coalition with some other small political parties known as National Coalition (BN). The Islamic party PAS formed a coalition with BERSATU, an alliance known as National Alliance (PN). Also, the former prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad made another alliance with small groups known as GTA. Furthermore, two other local coalition groups participate in every general election. One is a local state Sabah-based political coalition known as GRS, and another local state Sarawak-based political coalition is known as GPS. The leader of the alliance PH is the current prime minister Anowar Ibrahim whereas Zahid Hamidi is the leader of BN. For the alliance of PN, Muhyiddin is the leader. The alliance of current prime minister Anowar Ibrahim PH won the highest number of parliamentary seats with 81, while PN got 73 parliament seats and became second. On the other hand, among the individual political parties, the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) won the highest number of parliamentary seats, with 49, while the Chinese communist party DAP got 40 parliamentary seats and became second.

The emergence of Anowar Ibrahim

As all political parties or alliances failed in the 15th general election of Malaysia to fulfill the minimum requirement of getting a simple majority, no parties or alliances were able to form a government. For instance, the total number of parliamentary seats in Malaysia is 222, out of which a political party or alliance must get at least 112 parliament seats in order to form a federal government. Unfortunately, no political parties or alliances failed to achieve that number of seats. In this case, a coalition must be formed among alliances to form a government. However, none of the alliances was able to form a coalition with each other. For instance, the alliance PN doesn’t want to collaborate with PH, while BN doesn’t want to support either of these two alliances. This created a great dilemma in Malaysian politics. At this stage, only the federal king of Malaysia can solve the government. The establishment of a unity government was proposed, where the king appointed Anowar Ibrahim after consulting all the state kings. In this way, the federal king gave the oath to Anowal Ibrahim as the 10th prime minister of Malaysia. After Anowar Ibrahim was appointed as the 10th prime minister of Malaysia, the alliance BN and other local alliance groups, including GPS and GRS, agreed to cooperate with the current government while the alliance PN decided to be in the opposition. The nationalist party UMNO chief Zahid Hamidi was appointed as the deputy prime minister of Malaysia.  

The newly appointed prime minister of Malaysia, Anowar, is a well-known figure in Malaysia because of his dynamism and charisma as a political leader, especially during his youth. He is one of the founders of the Muslim youth movement of Malaysia (ABIM), and he served as the second president of the movement. He started his political career by joining the nationalist party of Malaysia UMNO. Anowar Ibrahim became the deputy prime minister of Malaysia from 1993 to 1998. He also served as the finance minister of Malaysia during this tenure. As a finance minister, he played an important role in recovering from the Asian financial crisis that happened in 1997. However, he was sacked from the chair by the then-prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad after which many alleged cases, including sodomy and other corruption charges, were filed against him. He was put in jail between 1999 and 2004, where he was allegedly tortured. He became politically active after being released from prison with his own formed political party, the Peoples’ Justice Party (PKR). While he became active in politics again and also started playing the role of an opposition leader in the parliament, that alleged sodomy case was again filed against him, for which he was imprisoned again in 2015. In 2018 Anowar was again released from prison by receiving a royal pardon from the federal king after Mahathir Mohammad again became Prime minister. After being released from jail and removing all cases filed against him, he became free to contest the parliamentary election. Later on, Anwar re-entered Parliament through winning a by-election that was held on 13 October 2018  After returning to the parliament, he again became more active in politics and played an important role as an opposition leader until the end of his last tenure, and became prime minister after the 15th general election on 19th November 2022. 

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