Skip to content

Malaysia’s Ruling Coalition Retains Sarawak in Key State Polls

  • Local parties in Sarawak win elections, buoying UMNO
  • Anwar faces some pressure to step aside as opposition leader
Anwar Ibrahim
Anwar IbrahimPhotographer: Ian Teh/Bloomberg

Voters in Malaysia’s biggest state rejected the opposition alliance in elections on Saturday, increasing pressure on Anwar Ibrahim to step aside as de facto opposition leader and forcing a rethink in strategy ahead of a national vote that may be called as soon as next year.

Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan failed to wrest the state of Sarawak from the local parties aligned with the ruling United Malays National Organisation. The Sarawak Parties Alliance won enough seats to retain their hold on the Borneo island, according to the Election Commission in a statement late Saturday. The result was expected, as they have controlled the state since independence.