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Malaysia's leading coalition wins key state election

 
Kuala Lumpur, Nov 20 (IANS) Malaysia's Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition led by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) scored a key election victory on Saturday, winning over control of the Malacca state.

The coalition took 21 of 28 state assembly seats, granting it a two-thirds majority in the state assembly, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the results announced by the election commission.

The state election was triggered after several state assemblymen from the ruling coalition withdrew support for the state's chief minister, leading to the dissolution of the state assembly on October 5.

BN, which had governed Malaysia since the country's independence in 1957, lost the state and also lost control of the government for the first time after been defeated by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition in the national and state polls in 2018.

Following the collapse of the PH coalition led by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in 2020, BN made a comeback after partnering with a number of defectors from PH under a government led by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin, who heads the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), had in turn resigned on Aug. 16 before being succeeded by UMNO vice president Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who was sworn in on August 21.

Tensions between PPBM and BN had seen the federal political allies compete against each other at the state level along with the main opposition coalition PH, leading to multi-cornered fights in all state assembly seats, with other minor parties and independents also contesting.

The election has been seen as a test of whether UMNO-led BN could go alone in the coming national polls which must be held on or before July 2023.

--IANS
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