Opposition scores historic win in Malaysia landmark election

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Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s old and new leader

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has suffered a stunning loss in the country’s 14th general election on May 9 to former leader Mahathir Mohamad, who at 92 years of age is now set to become the world’s oldest head of state.

Mahathir’s coalition officially won 121 seats out of 222 seats in the country’s parliament, enough to form a simple majority and take control of the House.

Najib’s party Barisan Nasional, in contrast, only scrored 79 seats – a far cry from the 133 it won in the 2013 election. Najib said in the morning after voting day that he has accepted the “verdict of the people” but stopped short of conceding defeat.

According to a statement by the country’s election commission, over 76 per cent of the 14.3 million eligible voters in the country turned out to cast their ballots. The turnout was lower than the 85 per cent the country saw in 2013.

Mahathir’s victory raises big questions about Najib’s immediate future. Mahathir had said he would pursue criminal charges against Najib over the financial scandal surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad in case he wins.

Najib had been under massive pressure in the run-up to the elections, mainly due to long-running allegations of corruption and misappropriation of money from the state fund, but also because of deeply unpopular moves such as the introduction of a goods and services tax (GST), which many Malaysians feel has caused the cost of living to spike sharply.

Najib also rammed through an unpopular bill in parliament, days before it was dissolved and elections were called, that was ostensibly targeted at curbing the spread of “fake news,” but which critics said was aimed at stifling free speech and dissenting voices.

Meanwhile, Malaysian stocks dropped and the ringgit lost against major currencies amid uncertainties of the new government’s future course. Mahathir in the past has said he will scrap large “unnecessary” mega-projects such as the high-speed rail to Singapore as he disagreed with the large debt taken to fund these projects. Analysts expect infrastructure spending to be reduced to refocus on fuel subsidies and the promised removal of the GST.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s old and new leader

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has suffered a stunning loss in the country’s 14th general election on May 9 to former leader Mahathir Mohamad, who at 92 years of age is now set to become the world’s oldest head of state.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s old and new leader

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has suffered a stunning loss in the country’s 14th general election on May 9 to former leader Mahathir Mohamad, who at 92 years of age is now set to become the world’s oldest head of state.

Mahathir’s coalition officially won 121 seats out of 222 seats in the country’s parliament, enough to form a simple majority and take control of the House.

Najib’s party Barisan Nasional, in contrast, only scrored 79 seats – a far cry from the 133 it won in the 2013 election. Najib said in the morning after voting day that he has accepted the “verdict of the people” but stopped short of conceding defeat.

According to a statement by the country’s election commission, over 76 per cent of the 14.3 million eligible voters in the country turned out to cast their ballots. The turnout was lower than the 85 per cent the country saw in 2013.

Mahathir’s victory raises big questions about Najib’s immediate future. Mahathir had said he would pursue criminal charges against Najib over the financial scandal surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad in case he wins.

Najib had been under massive pressure in the run-up to the elections, mainly due to long-running allegations of corruption and misappropriation of money from the state fund, but also because of deeply unpopular moves such as the introduction of a goods and services tax (GST), which many Malaysians feel has caused the cost of living to spike sharply.

Najib also rammed through an unpopular bill in parliament, days before it was dissolved and elections were called, that was ostensibly targeted at curbing the spread of “fake news,” but which critics said was aimed at stifling free speech and dissenting voices.

Meanwhile, Malaysian stocks dropped and the ringgit lost against major currencies amid uncertainties of the new government’s future course. Mahathir in the past has said he will scrap large “unnecessary” mega-projects such as the high-speed rail to Singapore as he disagreed with the large debt taken to fund these projects. Analysts expect infrastructure spending to be reduced to refocus on fuel subsidies and the promised removal of the GST.

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