The search for a new Malaysian prime minister reached its fourth day on Wednesday, November 23, after the top two candidates failed to achieve a majority and break a hung parliament following the election last weekend.
After opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and former premier Muhyiddin Yassin failed to create a coalition with other parties by Tuesday afternoon, the monarch of Malaysia will choose the new prime minister.
The repercussions of Saturday’s election prolong political uncertainty in the Southeast Asian nation, which has had three prime ministers in the past two years, and risk delaying policy choices required to stimulate economic growth.
King Al-Sultan Abdullah is anticipated to meet with parliamentarians from the existing Barisan Nasional coalition individually beginning at 10:30 a.m. (0230 GMT) on Wednesday to assist him in determining who would be the next prime minister.
The constitutional monarch’s role is primarily ceremonial, although he has the power to nominate a prime minister he feels will command a majority in parliament.
In the Saturday election, Anwar’s alliance got the most seats with 82, while Muhyiddin’s group won 73. A simple majority of 112 votes is required to create a government.
Barisan won just 30 seats, its poorest electoral showing since independence in 1957, but the backing of its legislators would be necessary for both Anwar and Muhyiddin to reach 112 seats.
Barisan stated on Tuesday that it would not join any coalition.
Muhyiddin said that he had rejected the King’s offer that the two adversaries create a “unity government.” Muhyiddin leads a coalition of traditional Malay Muslims, while Anwar leads a coalition of other ethnicities.
Muhyiddin’s coalition includes an Islamist party whose electoral victories have stoked apprehension in Malaysia, where sizable minorities of ethnic Chinese and ethnic Indian followers of various religions exist. Concerns about the Islamist party’s possible influence on national policy have frightened investors.
After the controversial election, Malaysian authorities warned social media users this week not to post “provocative” information about race and religion.