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General election winners and losers

Pas' inroads has shown that it is now a force to be reckoned with

BENEDICT LOPEZ

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The general election attracted a 73.9% voter turnout and produced mixed results, with no coalitions being able to form a government with a simple majority.

Pakatan Harapan (with Muda) scored 82 seats, while trailing closely behind it was Perikatan Nasional with a good catch of 73.

Barisan Nasional, particularly Umno, that forced an early election saw its fortunes going south with only 30 seats, while Pejuang’s contenders all lost, including its chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 

Winners

Pas

The Islamist party that called for the unity of the ummah – hence its embrace of both Umno and Bersatu at one time – eventually reinforced its strength in this election via a pact with Bersatu and Gerakan under the banner of Perikatan Nasional.

It took a clean sweep of seats in Terengganu and Kelantan using its own logo, signalling that its brand of Islam is firmly welcomed by people on the east coast, as well as many in Kedah.

The failure of former Pas Syura Council secretary Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, who stood on a BN ticket, for instance, suggests a Pas tsunami that could not be checked.

The party’s handsome victory has shown that it is now a force to be reckoned with, not only in PN, but also in many parts of the country.

It also shows that the politics of race and religion did produce dividends, which explains why Bersatu leader Mahiassin Yasin won convincingly despite – or rather, because of – his so-called gaffe about the Christianisation of the country on the eve of polling day.

GPS

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Gabungan Parti Sarawak, which secured 22 seats comfortably, was set to be a kingmaker in a hung Parliament.

Pakatan Harapan 

This coalition of PKR, the DAP and Amanah – plus Muda cooperation – secured a pyrrhic victory with nine seats fewer than in 2018.

Although PH managed to defend most of its seats, it is noteworthy that PKR secretary general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail lost his Kulim seat to PN candidate Roslan Hashim, while Nurul Izzah Anwar also lost her family’s traditional seat of Permatang Pauh to a PN candidate, Fawwaz Mat Jan, with a majority of 5,272 votes.

A less than convincing performance meant PH had to seek alliances with other parties, including those in the Borneo states.

Losers

BN

BN ended up in third place in terms of the national coalitions taking part in the election, securing only 30 seats under the leadership of Zahid Hamidi, who carries a baggage of court cases.

As a result, Zahid’s Umno presidency has now become dicey, with members expected to call for his resignation owing to the coalition’s dismal showing.

Zahid’s dropping of certain Umno warlords aligned to Ismail Sabri Yaakob from the election also partly caused a reversal of the party’s political fortunes.

Ismail Sabri was confirmed as the country’s prime minister for the shortest term ever, while Khairy Jamaluddin’s dream of becoming prime minister was been dashed by his electoral loss in Sungai Buloh.

Pejuang

The party’s chairman, nonagenarian Dr Mahathir Mohamed, received a thrashing from a PN candidate who got a majority of 13,518. Such was the humiliation that the former prime minister lost his deposit after getting only 4,566 votes.

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Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz, as well as other contenders in the Gerakan Tanah Air coalition, lost altogether, begging the question whether Pejuang and GTA will survive at all after the election.

PKR defectors

Among the ‘Sheraton movers’ who lost in this election were Azmin Ali in Gombak – to Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari – and Zuraida Kamaruddin, who stood as a Parti Bangsa Malaysia candidate. It appeared that many voters did not take kindly to those who betrayed them. – The Malaysian Insight

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Dr Mustafa K Anuar, a longtime executive committee member and former honorary secretary of Aliran, is, co-editor of our newsletter. He obtained his PhD from City, University of London and is particularly interested in press freedom and freedom of expression issues. These days, he is a a senior journalist with an online media portal
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