Malaysia Opposition Parties Won't Leave Coalition, Star Says

(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s former ruling coalition will remain intact as two component parties set aside differences with their bigger partner who is joining forces with an Islamist opposition group, the Star reported.

The Malaysian Chinese Association and the Malaysian Indian Congress -- ethnic minority-led parties in the Barisan Nasional alliance -- said they won’t break away from the coalition that ruled the country for more than six decades until its defeat in elections last year. They had earlier planned to do so, angered by “racial remarks” made by Barisan’s secretary-general.

MCA and MIC hold two seats in parliament, and said earlier this month they will forge a new alliance and break away from Barisan. The coalition is anchored by the United Malays National Organisation, which announced a pact with the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS.

The two parties will support UMNO’s decision to collaborate with PAS, its deputy chairman Mohamad Hasan said Friday. PAS could work with Barisan ahead of the next election, he said. Mohamad said on Tuesday that UMNO was working with PAS to protect the interests of the Malays, the biggest ethnic group in Malaysia.

Barisan would also adopt MCA’s resolution to restructure the coalition, Mohamad said. Barisan’s rule was halted by the Pakatan Harapan alliance in a landmark election in May.

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