Malaysia’s opposition weakened as Najib’s ruling coalition wins by-elections

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Najib and Mahatir
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak (left) and his fiercest critic Mahathir Moahmad

Malaysia’s ruling coalition Barisan Nasional won two by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar on June 18, defying a political movement led by former premier Mahathir Mohamad who has sought to turn voters against his scandal-tainted former protégé Najib Razak.

The victories allow Prime Minister Najib, who leads the coalition but is under pressure to resign over a graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), to further tighten his grip over the country and within the ruling Barisan Nasional.

Najib’s coalition did not just win, it also increased margins compared with the 2013 general elections, the election commission said. Both communities are mostly made up of farming and fishing communities along Peninsular Malaysia’s west coast.

Najib has been facing scrutiny over the source of nearly $700 million that were found in one of his personal bank accounts, sent by companies linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad sovereign wealth fund, which was initiated by Najib six years ago.

Najib has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and the Malaysian attorney general has said the funds were a “personal donation” from Saudi Arabia’s royal family. But the scandal has led to probes in 10 countries – including Malaysia, Singapore, UK, US and Switzerland – over allegations of political donations, inaccurate disclosures, alleged money laundering and embezzlement.

Even more it is astounding that Najib succeeded impressively in the elections. He has been fiercely attacked by Mahathir, who even called him “Idi Amin of Malaysia”, referring to the dictator of Uganda in the 1970s whose regime was known for his extreme cruelty, repression and corruption.

“Mahathir Mohamad turned the elections into a referendum on my leadership,” Najib said in a statement.

“The people rejected his lies, they rejected his unworkable coalition of former enemies, and they rejected the incoherent opposition – partly because of their alignment with Mahathir,” he said.‎

Najib pledged to resist Mahathir “until the very end.” He said the people could not rely on a 91-year-old man — “a man without pride.”

The next general election is scheduled for 2018. The coalition lost its two-third majority in the 2008 polls, and Najib lost the popular vote in 2013 despite Barisan Nasional retaining power.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak (left) and his fiercest critic Mahathir Moahmad

Malaysia’s ruling coalition Barisan Nasional won two by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar on June 18, defying a political movement led by former premier Mahathir Mohamad who has sought to turn voters against his scandal-tainted former protégé Najib Razak.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Najib and Mahatir
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak (left) and his fiercest critic Mahathir Moahmad

Malaysia’s ruling coalition Barisan Nasional won two by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar on June 18, defying a political movement led by former premier Mahathir Mohamad who has sought to turn voters against his scandal-tainted former protégé Najib Razak.

The victories allow Prime Minister Najib, who leads the coalition but is under pressure to resign over a graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), to further tighten his grip over the country and within the ruling Barisan Nasional.

Najib’s coalition did not just win, it also increased margins compared with the 2013 general elections, the election commission said. Both communities are mostly made up of farming and fishing communities along Peninsular Malaysia’s west coast.

Najib has been facing scrutiny over the source of nearly $700 million that were found in one of his personal bank accounts, sent by companies linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad sovereign wealth fund, which was initiated by Najib six years ago.

Najib has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and the Malaysian attorney general has said the funds were a “personal donation” from Saudi Arabia’s royal family. But the scandal has led to probes in 10 countries – including Malaysia, Singapore, UK, US and Switzerland – over allegations of political donations, inaccurate disclosures, alleged money laundering and embezzlement.

Even more it is astounding that Najib succeeded impressively in the elections. He has been fiercely attacked by Mahathir, who even called him “Idi Amin of Malaysia”, referring to the dictator of Uganda in the 1970s whose regime was known for his extreme cruelty, repression and corruption.

“Mahathir Mohamad turned the elections into a referendum on my leadership,” Najib said in a statement.

“The people rejected his lies, they rejected his unworkable coalition of former enemies, and they rejected the incoherent opposition – partly because of their alignment with Mahathir,” he said.‎

Najib pledged to resist Mahathir “until the very end.” He said the people could not rely on a 91-year-old man — “a man without pride.”

The next general election is scheduled for 2018. The coalition lost its two-third majority in the 2008 polls, and Najib lost the popular vote in 2013 despite Barisan Nasional retaining power.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid