Photographer: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

Malaysian Opposition Alliance Won't Cooperate With Islamic Party

  • Decision may boost premier Najib’s chances in next election
  • General election must be called by the middle of next year

Malaysia’s opposition alliance said it won’t cooperate with the country’s largest Islamic party at the next elections, raising the possibility of multiple-cornered fights that could benefit the ruling coalition.

Pakatan Harapan is working on a strategy to avoid three-cornered contests, it said in a statement on Tuesday, without elaborating. The alliance is made up of four parties. The Islamic group known as PAS split from an earlier version of the opposition grouping in 2015.

Supporters of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) wave flags.

Photographer: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

The opposition has failed to capitalize on gains made in the 2013 election, when it won the popular vote for the first time, though Pakatan is betting that dissatisfaction against Prime Minister Najib Razak over living costs will be enough to sway voters. 

Still, the statement confirms Pakatan and PAS have failed to come to a compromise on which seats to contest. The next election is due by the middle of next year, with speculation Najib may call it sooner.

PAS will compete in at least 42 of 56 state assembly seats in the state of Selangor, one of its officials was cited as saying by the Bernama news agency on Aug. 24. In the 2008 election the opposition won control of Selangor, Malaysia’s most populous state which surrounds the capital Kuala Lumpur.

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