MALAYSIA – Malaysian voters will head to the polls tomorrow (November 19) to decide the country’s fate over the next five years.
A total of 945 candidates are vying for the 222 parliamentary seats of the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) in the 15e General election (GE15).
It would be the fiercest election ever, as 213 seats are contested by multifaceted struggles between the three main coalitions: Barisan National (BN), Perikatan National (PN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH).
Emir Research, a Malaysian think tank, has published its Projection GE15 on November 17 for Peninsular Malaysia, predicting that Pakatan Harapan (PH) would win 94 seats, ahead of BN 46, and PN would only win 24 seats.
The newly founded coalition Air by Gerakan Tanah (GTA, or Homeland Movement) led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 96, is likely to win only one seat, namely the Langkawi constituency championed by Dr Mahathir himself.
Emir Research noted that the projections are based on a turnout of 77%, which was derived based on poll aggregation that includes EMIR Research’s own projections.
Forecasts predict that there will be 41 close-election seats with ±1,000 majority votes.
PH fielded 206 candidates to compete in GE15. As one of the constituent parties of the PH, the People’s Justice Party contests 72 seats in total.
In its projection, Emir Research expects PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to win the seat of Tambun and the seat of Bandar Tun Razak respectively.
The leaders of the parties composing the BN all predicted losing seats
Emir Research also predicted the probable loss of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, chairman of Umno in Bagan Datuk; while Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong being, MCA President elected to his Ayer Hitam seat and MIC President Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran being ousted in Sungai Siput.
Zahid Hamidi is well known for his speech to urge dominant BN victory in GE15 or face more lawsuits.
He had recently been acquitted of the 40 corruption charges brought against him in the Foreign Visa System (VLN) case; but still faces 47 other charges of breach of trust, bribery and money laundering in the Yayasan Akalbudi case.
As for Perikatan National coalition, he could lose his seat in Gombak defended by Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, former chief minister of internal trade and industry (MITI); while PAS as an ally of the PN contest in 22 seats, would be able to defend its stronghold in Kelantan and Terengganu.
Emir Research said its GE15 projection is based on an analysis of historical trends by researching at least four general election results, examining its own quarterly sentiment surveys and modeling previous general election results.
The center also conducted a meta-analytic study of poll results reported by various Malaysian research houses over the period from mid-October to mid-November.
“The EMIR Research team paid attention to the distribution of popular votes reported by the polls
on a few important demographic variables such as gender, ethnicity and residence.
“Then these results were combined with the actual proportions of these demographics among voters in various states in Malaysia and averaged using meta-analytical software.”
Fitch Solutions: BN should win more seats
However, another GE15 forecast made by Adapted solution on October 31, predicted that the BN coalition would win the most votes and most likely form the next government, but with a high risk of a hung parliament.
“Malaysia’s short-term political risk index score stands at 64.8 out of 100, which is near an all-time low, reflecting elevated political uncertainty, but we expect the Political stability will return once a new government is formed, bolstered by the “anti-party hopping” bill, the outfit said.
Fitch Solution predicted that there is a 10% chance that BN will be forced to form government with PN, or 15% with other parties under suspended parliament circumstances.
The BN coalition previously won the Johor and Malacca state by-elections with landslide victories, reversing their defeat in the 2018 state elections. Fitch Solution noted that there are signs that the momentum policy is in favor of BN.
“If these state polls provide an accurate representation of political sentiment at the national level, BN would likely win an outright majority in the November federal election, which would ensure that it would be able to form government. ”
However, Fitch Solution also warned that the youth vote could be a political game-changer, given that the younger generation seems to prefer non-racial politics.
Only last December, the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 and automatic voter registration was implemented through the passage of the Undi18 (“Vote at 18”) bill in 2019.
These amendments to the Malaysian Constitution led to the addition of 6.23 million new voters, with a total of 21.17 million eligible voters in the GE15.