Malaysian prime minister to launch new coalition

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will officially launch his Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition today ahead of the September 26 Sabah state

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Photo: REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will officially launch his Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition today ahead of the September 26 Sabah state elections, in a bid to counter the opposition and strengthen his own Bersatu party.

The electoral coalition would comprise four parties: Bersatu, Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), Homeland Solidarity Party and the Sabah Progressive Party. The Malaysian Indian Congress, initially slated for membership, withdrew from the coalition yesterday following the United Malays National Organisation’s (UMNO) decision to not join PN. The coalition intends to kick-start a new political era by fielding candidates under its multi-ethnic and relatively less Bumiputera-centric banner; until its defeat at the polls in 2018, UMNO ruled Malaysia for over six decades.

Despite this seemingly progressive move, Yassin has struggled to translate inter-party bonds into a viable electoral arrangement. Unable to assimilate into a genuine cooperative arrangement, many parties find themselves residing within the coalition but asserting independent agendas. This has led to the political scene in Malaysia comprising multiple overlapping coalitions and alliances—PN and UMNO have overlapping parties but still jostle for control—muddling a clear trajectory for governance. Although tacit partnerships exist between UMNO, Bersatu and PAS as the frontrunners, it is expected that disagreements over seat allocations in the upcoming elections will prove an impediment to true solidarity and a united vision in Malaysian politics.

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