Mahathir Mahathir, 92, claims win over ruling coalition in Malaysia elections

May 10, 2018, 11:17
Mahathir Mahathir, 92, claims win over ruling coalition in Malaysia elections

At 92, former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad will return as the oldest world leader after his opposition alliance secured enough seats to form government.

The vote showed that Mahathir still knows how to win elections. Najib urged the country to remain calm while the king makes "the best choice".

Voting began at 8 a.m.in Kuala Lumpur, with results expected to trickle in from 7 p.m. onward.

He said the four parties of the PH alliance have written a letter to the King asking for the ceremony to swear in the seventh PM to the taken by 5pm today.

Supporters of the incoming government took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to celebrate their unexpected victory. When it was announced that Mahathir secured the seat, they erupted into applause and a chant of "long live Tun", referring to Mahathir's honorary title.

The biggest exchange-traded fund holding Malaysian stocks staged its biggest slump in nearly 2 1/2 years as volume surged amid a surprise election victory by the country's opposition alliance.

Official results showed that Mr. Mohamad's Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) won 113 of parliament's 222 seats, clinching the simple majority required to rule. Charismatic opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was imprisoned the same year for sodomy in a case he said was politically motivated.

Vote counting by officials went on into the morning, with final results still pending.

Mahathir, when asked if he had any advice for Najib, warned the man he groomed for office not to defy the will of the people. "They wanted Najib gone".

A former doctor who entered politics in 1964, Mahathir governed Malaysia with an iron fist for 22 years, with accusations of rights abuses overshadowing a period that also saw Malaysia transform from a sleepy Southeast Asian backwater into a relatively affluent country.

Malaysian voters had been angered by a corruption scandal involving Prime Minister Najib Razak and new taxes.

While the overall economic picture is improving, many voters in the countryside have struggled with inflated living costs.

Mahathir's alliance, which counts on urban votes and support from the minority ethnic-Chinese and Indian communities, hoped that with the Malay veteran leader as its standard bearer it would draw in voters traditionally loyal to BN.

Welsh said it was still not clear which side will win a parliamentary majority but the ruling coalition was at risk of losing numerous states to the opposition. The US Department of Justice launched civil lawsuits seeking to seize $1.7 billion in assets allegedly bought with money looted from 1MDB, from real estate to artworks.

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