KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition led by Umno captured Melaka on Saturday (Nov 20), winning 21 of the 28 seats in the Melaka state polls.
Rival pact Pakatan Harapan (PH) won in five constituencies and Perikatan Nasional (PN) won two seats, according to results confirmed by the Election Commission late on Saturday.
This meant that BN has won 75 per cent of the wards in Melaka, the second-smallest Malaysian state by land size after Perlis.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who wore a neck brace when he appeared at the BN operations centre, praised the efforts of his deputy Mohamad Hasan, who led the coalition's election machinery in Melaka, and other state leaders.
Referring to former premier Najib Razak, he added to cheers from the crowd: "I did not forget Bossku's contributions."
Zahid did not join the Melaka campaign because he was away in Germany for medical treatment.
Najib was highly visible during the 12-day campaigning period as he made many public appearances, despite curbs by the federal government on public contact amid the pandemic.
BN lost Melaka to PH in the May 2018 general election, mirroring the unexpected PH victory at the federal level.
But the PH state government collapsed due to defections early last year, just as its federal counterpart was ousted for similar reasons.
Another round of defections last month saw the BN-led state government, which had replaced PH, also losing its majority, leading to the dissolution of the legislative assembly.
The PH coalition, which is an opposition bloc at the federal level, conceded defeat yesterday, ahead of the release of the official results.
PH secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said that based on the unofficial results it obtained, the Melaka voters have decided to give their mandate to BN.
"We would like to state that the people of Melaka have made their decisions through the ballot box," Datuk Seri Saifuddin told a news conference, as quoted by The Star daily. "And based on that, it shows that they wanted Barisan to form a government and Pakatan needs to respect the results."
The state election is closely watched as Melaka has a racial composition and urban-rural split similar to the national averages, making yesterday's polls a bellwether for the next general election.
The general election is not due until 2023 but is expected to take place next year.
PH chief Anwar Ibrahim suffered a crushing blow as his bloc won only five seats, compared with the 15 it won in the May 2018 general election.
His own Parti Keadilan Rakyat lost the three seats it won in 2018.
Former premier Muhyiddin Yassin's PN pact won two seats, and he said its candidates secured good chunks of the votes.
This was despite expectations that PN would do poorly as the third coalition standing between BN and PH.
PN is anchored by Tan Sri Muhyiddin's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Islam SeMalaysia.
Mr Muhyiddin yesterday declared that PN will be BN's main challenger in the upcoming general election.
"We have arrived here and will remain steadfast to become BN's main challenger," he told the media in Melaka.
Seats won and lost
Barisan Nasional: 21 seats
(2018: It won 13 seats)
• Umno: 18
• Malaysian Chinese Association: 2
• Malaysian Indian Congress: 1
Pakatan Harapan: 5 seats
(2018: It won 15 seats with Bersatu)
• Parti Keadilan Rakyat: 0
• Democratic Action Party: 4
• Parti Amanah Negara: 1
Perikatan Nasional: 2 seats
• Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia: 2
• Parti Islam SeMalaysia: 0
• Parti Gerakan: 0