Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Malay party recorded a landslide victory in a state election on Saturday, defeating its allies in the ruling coalition as well as the opposition ahead of national polls.
The victory in southern Malacca state by Ismail’s United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO, was seen as a bellwether that could shape alliances in national elections following a period of political turmoil. The elections are not due until 2023 but are widely expected to be called next year.
UMNO had led Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957, but was ousted in 2018 elections by opposition leader Ibrahim Anwar’s reformist alliance following a multibillion-dollar financial scandal that led to the corruption conviction of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Anwar’s alliance crumbled last year after Muhyiddin Yassin withdrew his Bersatu party and formed a new government with UMNO, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party…