The ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition in Malaysia ceased to exist on Feb. 24.
Pakatan Harapan collapsed after Muhyiddin Yassin announced that component party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) would leave the four-party coalition, effectively cratering as it would not have a simple majority to form the government.
But it could come back from the dead by Feb. 26.
Interim Prime Minister
Feb. 25 saw interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad report for work, the only member of Malaysia’s elected government as all other ministers were relieved of their duties, following Mahathir’s resignation as prime minister, which dissolved the Cabinet.
Mahathir held meetings with the leaders of various political parties during the day, from Pakatan Harapan party leaders like Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng, to leaders of UMNO and PAS opposition parties.
UMNO, PAS call for snap election
At around 7:25pm, UMNO, PAS and other opposition MPs held a press conference.
According to the Star Online, they rejected Mahathir’s proposal to form a “unity government” comprising members of various parties, whether they were in opposition or not.
They called for a dissolution of parliament and a snap election.
The Malay Mail also reported that Islamist party PAS was dead-set against forming a government together with the DAP, whom it blamed for “racial friction” without giving specifics.
Pakatan Harapan could get a majority in parliament
Representatives from the remainder of the Pakatan Harapan parties held a meeting of their own.
After the meeting, Malaysiakini quoted Amanah’s strategic communications chief Khalid Samad, who said it was a “happy meeting”.
He added that Pakatan Harapan had enough seats to form a majority government once more.
Khalid, when asked about UMNO and PAS’s call for a snap election, replied: “No, we didn’t discuss. Why should we waste money on fresh polls when we can get a clear (majority).”
Adding up the numbers
Following Bersatu’s exit (Berexit) and Azmin Ali’s defection from PKR, Pakatan Harapan was left with 92 MPs.
This wasn’t enough to command a majority in parliament, where 112 out of 222 MPs granted a simple majority.
But Azmin’s faction of 11 MPs expressed their support for Mahathir as Prime Minister.
Gabungan Parti Sarawak, another coalition with 18 MPs, also supported Mahathir.
And Pakatan Harapan could count on the Sabah Heritage Party’s (Warisan Sabah) nine MPs, with whom it is allied.
Assuming they all joined forces, this would be enough to command a majority in parliament, even without getting back the members of Mahathir’s wayward Bersatu party.
Pakatan Harapan could be resurrected on Feb. 26, perhaps with new faces, but with the same authority to form the government of the day.
Top image from Pakatan Harapan’s Facebook page.