After more than 45 years, people have begun to question if the end of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is near
BN was incepted in 1973 after the Alliance Party was expanded by Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was prime minister then.
In the 14th General Election (GE14), BN suffered a heavy defeat and fell from power as the coalition only won 79 seats out of 222 parliamentary seats while the Pakatan Harapan coalition won a total of 116 seats.
Following BN's poor performance in the election, many component parties decided to leave the coalition one after another. However, BN was dealt a major blow when four Sarawak BN component parties announced their decision to pull out of the coalition with immediate effect on Tuesday, 12 June.
BN won every previous Sarawak state election and with the parties leaving to form their own state pact known as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), BN has lost the Sarawak state for the first time in 44 years.
Several BN leaders from UMNO have since spoken about the four Sarawak parties' departure from the coalition
theSun reported UMNO supreme council member Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz as saying that BN is "as good as gone" now that it has lost its Sarawak counterparts.
"BN is no longer strong like it used to be, and in times like this, we must be brave in making changes or take drastic steps, probably something similar to what former premier the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein did after the general election in 1969," Nazri suggested, pointing out that Razak had invited former opposition political parties to work together then.
"It might be a good thing to dissolve BN now and have UMNO go at it alone in Peninsular Malaysia," he added.
Meanwhile, BN Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said he accepted the Sarawak parties' decision to leave the coalition with an open heart. He added that the current situation would have a huge impact on UMNO's restructuring process.
"I understand and wish them luck even though the decision means that the almost half a century of co-operation among BN Sarawak has come to an end.
"I hope other BN components in the country will also accept what has happened in Sarawak and not become disheartened by it," he wrote in a Facebook post, as reported by New Straits Times (NST).
On the other hand, Sabah UMNO acting chief Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak wrote on his blog today that Sabah UMNO sends their best wishes to the four Sarawak parties.
In the statement on his blog, Salleh stressed that Sabah UMNO will "remain loyal" and stay in BN despite the coalition's failure to form the state government in GE14.
"In Sabah, our UMNO members are still strong and choose to remain loyal to Barisan," he said in the statement, as reported by The Star Online.
“Just because Barisan failed to form the government this time, it doesn’t mean that’s the end," Salleh said.
According to Malaysiakini, there are just four component parties left in the BN coalition. There were 13 parties in BN prior to coalition's defeat in GE14.
Here's a timeline of key events leading up to BN's current state:
• 9 May: BN won 79 seats out of 222 parliamentary seats, losing federal power for the first time in Malaysian history.
• 10 May: Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO), which won one seat in GE14, quit Sabah BN.
• 11 May: Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which did not win any federal seat in GE14, pulled out from Sabah BN.
• 12 May: Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), which won a seat a federal seat in GE14, became the third party to leave Sabah BN, as Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) followed suit. PBS also won one seat in GE14.
• 19 May: Parti Progresif Penduduk Malaysia (MyPPP) president Tan Sri M. Kayveas issued a statement saying that the party has left the BN coalition. However, MyPPP later refuted Kayveas' claims, saying that Kayveas was in no position to make any decision on behalf of MyPPP to leave BN as he is no longer with the party.
• 12 June: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) quit Sarawak BN. Collectively, the four parties won a total of 19 parliamentary seats in GE14.
The four remaining component parties in BN are: United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), and Malaysian People's Movement Party (GERAKAN).
With the withdrawal of a handful of component parties from the coalition, BN is effectively left with only 57 parliamentary seats from the initial 79 seats won on 9 May
Here's the breakdown of parliamentary seats currently held by the remaining component parties that are still in the BN coalition:
• UMNO: 47 seats
• MIC: 2 seats
• MCA: 1 seat
• Sabah UMNO: 7 seats
The BN coalition did not only suffer a heavy defeat at federal level. Its performance was also affected at state level as they only managed to retain the Perlis and Pahang state assemblies.
In the 13th General Election, BN lost in terms of popular votes but the coalition won 133 parliamentary seats and won nine out of 12 states, capturing Perlis, Kedah, Terengganu, Perak, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor, and Sabah.