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Malaysia PM Muhyiddin's alliance wins Sabah polls

Sabah Barisan Nasional chief Bung Moktar Radin (in white) declared that Gabungan Rakyat Sabah has garnered the simple majority of 37 to form the next state government.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK PUBLISHED

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's alliance has won the Sabah state elections on Saturday (Sept 26), according to unofficial results.

In a boost to his leadership, his Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) alliance has won the minimum 37 state assembly seats required to form the next state government.

The state has a total of 73 constituencies.

The victory could strengthen Tan Sri Muhyiddin's bid to defend his premiership amid an attempt by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to form the next federal government.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin has said that national snap polls could be called soon if GRS were to win in Sabah.

Malaysia’s general election is due only in 2023 but has been widely speculated to be called within the next few months.

The Sabah victory is a boost for the premier, after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday (Sept 23) dropped a bombshell by saying that he has majority support from federal MPs to form the next government.

Mr Anwar had also claimed in the news conference in Kuala Lumpur that the Muhyiddin government, which came to power seven months ago,  has “collapsed”.

Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, secretary-general of Perikatan Nasional (PN), Mr Muhyiddin’s ruling coalition, said on Saturday that based on the unofficial results in Sabah, GRS “will take over the state”.

Perikatan Nasional secretary-general Hamzah Zainuddin said that based on the unofficial results in Sabah, GRS “will take over the state”. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

The victory meant that GRS - consisting of PN, Barisan Nasional (BN), Parti Bersatu Sabah and several other Sabah-based parties - has snatched away the state government from a rival alliance led by Parti Warisan Sabah.

Unofficial results showed the Warisan alliance has won 20 seats, and three other wards were won by other factions.

GRS managed to come out victorious despite its various members contesting against one another in 17 of the 73 wards.

But it remained unclear over who will become the GRS chief minister, as both PN and BN had touted their own candidates for the post during the 14-day campaigning.

Voter turnout was just over 60 percent of the nearly 1.1 million voters in Malaysia’s second-biggest state after Sarawak.

The lower turnout was contributed by concerns of a surge in Covid-19 cases in Sabah in recent weeks. The state now has 730 active Covid-19 cases.

In 2018, voter turnout was 77 percent.