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Barisan Nasional will not back either PH or PN to form the next Malaysian government: Ismail Sabri

Following days of negotiations after Malaysia's 15th general election, it is still unclear who will form the new government.

Barisan Nasional will not back either PH or PN to form the next Malaysian government: Ismail Sabri

United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and Barisan National (BN) politicians Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and caretaker prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Nov 1, 2022. (Photo: AP/Vincent Thian)

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional (BN) will not be forming an electoral pact with either Pakatan Harapan (PH) or Perikatan Nasional (PN), said caretaker prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Tuesday (Nov 22).  

In a Facebook post, the vice president of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) said: “The BN supreme council has made a decision to not support any coalition to form a government. BN does not support Pakatan Harapan or Perikatan Nasional. As of now, BN agrees to remain in the opposition.”

UMNO is the lynchpin party of BN. 

This came after BN lawmakers held a meeting on Tuesday morning before a 2pm deadline set by the king for all parties to present their numbers to form the next government.

BN had been seen as a kingmaker after the 15th general election (GE15) result saw a hung parliament scenario, with both PH and PN coalitions in the running to form a new government.

At about 10.30am, UMNO vice-president Khaled Nordin, Sabah BN chief Bung Moktar Radin, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president Wee Ka Siong and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) deputy president M Saravanan were seen entering the UMNO headquarters building.

MCA and MIC are also component parties of BN. 

Simpang Renggam MP and former Johor chief minister Hasni Mohamad were also seen entering the building at about 11.05am.

Mr Bung Moktar said after the meeting that BN leaders did not make any decision on who its choice of prime minister should be. 

When asked by reporters about the outcome of the meeting, Mr Bung Moktar said: "We decided nothing (at the meeting). Whatever we will decide, we must do so as one team." He also said that no statutory declarations were signed at the meeting.

Shortly before Mr Ismail Sabri's announcement, Warisan president Shafie Apdal said that he supported the potential pact between PH and BN. The Sabah-based party won three seats.

“Both have the number of seats to form a government and the majority of the people have voted for Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional. As such, Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional should be given the first choice to form a government,” said the Tuesday statement.

“The party hopes that Pakatan Harapan together with Barisan Nasional will be able to secure partners that will enable the formation of the next federal government that brings political stability and unity to the country.”

Bung Moktar Radin, Deputy Chief Minister I and State Minister of Works of Sabah making his way out from UMNO headquarters. (Photo: CNA/Fadza Ishak)

DAYS OF NEGOTIATIONS

PH, led by Anwar Ibrahim, was the top performer in Saturday’s electoral contest, clinching 81 seats. An additional seat won by Malaysian United Democratic Alliance's (MUDA) Syed Saddiq took this tally to 82. 

Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin's PN trailed with 73 seats, which means neither coalition had the numbers for an outright majority of 112 seats in a 222-seat parliament.

BN finished a distant third behind PH and PN, winning 30 parliamentary seats.

Both leading coalitions had been courting potential partners to amass the numbers needed to form the government. 

The king had initially set a Monday, 2pm deadline for coalitions to present their numbers to form the government and propose their prime minister candidates. The deadline was later extended to Tuesday, 2pm.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) said on Sunday that it was ready to enter a coalition with PN, BN and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS). GPS won 23 seats while GRS won six seats. However, BN denied that negotiations had taken place.  

The coalition issued a statement on Tuesday saying that it leaves it to the discretion of the king to appoint a prime minister who will lead a strong government to govern the country. 

“GPS insists that the importance of the country is prioritised and the establishment of a stable government takes into account the interests of the people and the country above personal interests,” according to the statement.

On Monday, PH and BN leaders met at the Seri Pacific hotel to discuss the formation of the new government. Mr Anwar said later that he was very pleased with the progress of the discussions.

However, there were signs of dissent within BN on whether it should enter into a pact with PH. 

BN deputy president Mohamad Hasan wrote on Facebook that BN accepts the decision of the people. 

“So we don't have the power to establish a government. I suggest let PN and PH merge (to form the) government because they have the higher number of votes,” he said on Monday.

Source: CNA/ya(aw)
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