92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad Emerges New Malaysia’s President

92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad Emerges New Malaysia’s President

MALAYSIA election results shook the world last night as 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad secured a shock victory, ousting Najib Razak’s ruling party for the first time in the country’s history.

Malaysia went to the polls yesterday and Najib Razak’s long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) party lost seats in key states that have traditionally been strongholds.

“There have been some delays over a lack of understanding of the constitution, but we’d like to make it clear that there is an urgency here: We need to form the government now — today,” Mahathir said.

Riding a surge of late support was Mr Mahathir and his Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) party, who have secured the majority of 112 seats needed.

The new PM, who will become the world’s oldest elected leader at the age of 92, released a statement this morning calling for the urgent formation of a government and for him to be immediately sworn in.

Sitting PM Razak said he accepted the decision of the vote but argued that no party had won a majority, calling for the country’s King to make a decision on who will lead the country.

“There have been some delays over a lack of understanding of the constitution, but we’d like to make it clear that there is an urgency here: We need to form the government now — today,” Mahathir said.

“That is because currently there is no government of Malaysia.”

Sitting PM Razak said he accepted the decision of the vote but argued that no party had won a majority, calling for the country’s King to make a decision on who will lead the country.

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He said: “I accept, and my friends also accept, the verdict that has been delivered by the people and because no party has gotten a simple majority, therefore the king will be making a decision as to who will be the prime minister.”

After urging caution early on in the evening, the Election Commission confirmed last night the opposition alliance had secured the victory.

Mr Najib, whose father and uncle both served as Prime Minister, had suffered a loss of support following a series of scandals in recent years.

Mr Mahathir had previously served as Prime Minister for 22 years until 2003. In recent years he ended his retirement following after becoming angered at Mr Najib’s scandals.

He said: “I accept, and my friends also accept, the verdict that has been delivered by the people and because no party has gotten a simple majority, therefore the king will be making a decision as to who will be the prime minister.”

A simple majority of 112 seats is required by a party or alliance to rule, a number Mr Mahathir said his party had won.

He said: “We believe that from our official counting that they’re left far behind. The likelihood is that they will not be forming the government.”

He later said he expected to be sworn in as PM in the next day or so.

Protests have begun as opposition supporters fear a controversially-tight final result – with anger growing over postal votes and allegations of fraud.

Many Malaysians living abroad were unhappy with the polling day falling on a Wednesday, as millions of voters were unable to cast their vote.

And last night riot police were called to the results counting centre in Ayer Hiram, Jahor, after crowds were seen stopping unmarked cars from entering.

Hundreds of people can be seen in photos taken at the scene, amid rumours the election commission has refused to sign off a victory for the opposition.

BN has faced a far greater challenge in this election than ever before amid public anger over the cost of living and a multi-billion-dollar scandal that has dogged Mr Najib since 2015.

An election-eve opinion poll suggested support for BN was slipping and Mr Mahathir’s alliance would land the most votes in peninsular Malaysia, home to 80 percent of the population in this Southeast Asian nation.

However, under Malaysia’s electoral system, the party or alliance with the majority of parliament seats wins and going into the poll most experts believed that was within the prime minister’s reach.

Voters complained on social media groups of long queues outside polling centres, which resulted in a waiting time of up to three hours for some. Opposition leaders had called for voting hours to be extended.

Most results are expected before midnight local time (5 pm BST) but the count may spill into the early hours of Thursday.

Malaysia’s majority ethnic-Malay Muslims support BN for affirmative-action policies that give them government contracts, cheap housing and guaranteed university admissions.

U.S. Attorney-General Jeff Sessions has described the scandal at the fund set up by Najib as the worst form of kleptocracy. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed several lawsuits to seize more than $1.7 billion in assets believed to have been stolen from 1MDB.

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

However, Mr Mahathir is a polarising figure and many voters are suspicious of him because of his attacks on independent institutions when he was prime minister between 1981 and 2003.

Mr Najib has been buffeted by the scandal over 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state fund from which billions of dollars were allegedly syphoned off.

U.S. Attorney-General Jeff Sessions has described the scandal at the fund set up by Najib as the worst form of kleptocracy. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed several lawsuits to seize more than $1.7 billion in assets believed to have been stolen from 1MDB.

Mr Najib, who was chairman of 1MDB’s advisory board, has denied any wrongdoing and has been cleared of any offence by Malaysia’s attorney general.

Power is a Najib family trait, with his father Abdul Razak and uncle Hussein Onn also serving as Malaysia’s prime minister in the past.

When his father died he became an MP at the age of just 23, soon after he graduated from the University of Nottingham.

After serving in a variety of cabinet roles he became Deputy Prime Minister in 2004 and Prime Minister in 2009.

Whether he still holds this role at the end of play today remains to be seen.

Source: Express.co.uk

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