Barisan Nasional coalition said it would not support either opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim or former premier Muhyiddin Yassin in forming a new government.

The election stalemate has put the spotlight on the nation's ceremonial monarch, King Al-Sultan Abdullah, who will have to find a way to resolve the impasse. [Mohd Rasfan/AFP]
The election stalemate has put the spotlight on the nation's ceremonial monarch, King Al-Sultan Abdullah, who will have to find a way to resolve the impasse. [Mohd Rasfan/AFP] (MOHD RASFAN / AFP / AFP)

Malaysia's King Al-Sultan Abdullah has announced that he will decide "soon" on who will be the next prime minister, after the incumbent coalition decided not support any of the leading candidates, leaving the country in a political deadlock.

The king urged the public on Tuesday to be calm and accept his decision, urging Malaysians to "be rational".

"I can’t reveal anything because I have not seen anything yet. Let’s be patient. We have to move on for our beloved nation.

"Allow me to make a decision soonest possible," he told reporters after the deadline he set for the parties expired at 06:00 GMT.

The king later summoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin for an audience at the palace.

But the two rival leaders later emerged from the palace without the king making any announcement. 

Earlier in the day, the Barisan Nasional coalition said that would not support either Anwar or Muhyiddin in forming a new government.

Without incumbent Barisan's support, neither candidate can reach the simple majority required to form the government.

No political bloc won the majority on its own in the Saturday parliamentary elections.

Coalition talks

The election and the ensuing turmoil prolongs political instability in the multiracial Southeast Asian nation, which has had three prime ministers in as many years, and risks delays to policy decisions needed to galvanise an economic recovery.

Anwar's coalition had entered negotiations with Barisan Nasional on Monday. But talks broke down and caretaker Prime Minister Ismail Sabri, a leader of the Barisan Nasional wrote on social media that his coalition has decided to be in the opposition.

READ MORE: Rival political leaders race to form a new government in Malaysia

Anwar's multiethnic coalition won the most seats in the Saturday election with 82 seats, but it fell short of the required 112 seats required to form a government on its own [Arif Kartono/AFP]
Anwar's multiethnic coalition won the most seats in the Saturday election with 82 seats, but it fell short of the required 112 seats required to form a government on its own [Arif Kartono/AFP] ()

Barisan, Malaysia's dominant political force governed since independence from the British in 1957 until 2018.

Muhyiddin's conservative Malay Muslim alliance reiterated on Monday that he had majority support, though he did not identify his backers.

Anwar's multiethnic coalition won the most seats in the Saturday election with 82, while Muhyiddin's bloc won 73. They need 112 — a simple majority — to form a government.

Barisan won only 30 seats — its worst electoral performance — and it would have paved a pivotal role in pushing Anwar to become prime minister.

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin's bloc includes the PAS party, which won the highest number of seats and has called for sharia law.

READ MORE: Malaysia election delivers hung parliament

Its electoral gains have raised concerns in multi-cultural Malaysia, which has significant ethnic-Chinese and ethnic-Indian minorities following other faiths.

Muhyiddin had said on Monday that they have more than 112 parliament members who have signed a statutory declaration of support for his return as prime minister.

READ MORE: Malaysian PM dissolves Parliament, calls snap polls

Source: TRTWorld and agencies