Malaysian opposition wins historic election victory: official results

Malaysian opposition wins historic election victory: official results

Official results showed that parties in the informal Pakatan Harapan alliance, which had announced Mahathir as its prime minister candidate, won 113 of parliament's 222 seats, while Najib's Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition won 79.

Mahathir was also a accused of being an authoritarian leader, and political opponents were thrown in jail during his time in office.

He said, "Malaysia is a special country, my colleagues and I feel honoured to have led the country".

What's more, Mahathir appeared to decisively win over ethnic Malay voters that had long underpinned the ruling party's success.

"Well, politics they say is the art of the possible, so if he comes in to get rid of another evil, why not?"

He said Malaysia's king would decide whom to select as Malaysia's next prime minister as no party had achieved a simple majority of parliament seats.

"After the Prime Minister is sworn in and appointed Prime Minister officially, he may appoint the Deputy Prime Minister and other ministers".

Bridges and six-lane highways crisscrossed Malaysia in his development blitz, capped off with a lavish new administrative capital, and the world's tallest structure when it was built, the 88-storey Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur.

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Malaysians will likely be in for days, if not weeks and months, of uncertainty, as a ruling coalition is hashed out and it is decided how and when Mahathir will step aside for Anwar or another opposition figure.

During his decades in power, Mahathir ruled as a strongman leader and frequently used the draconian Internal Security Act to go after critics and enemies.

But Ibrahim Suffian, co-founder of the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, said the new government will have to contend with "enormous forces of inertia and resistance from within the government elites".

Mahathir has joined hands with Anwar in this campaign and has promised to seek a royal pardon for him. His 1970 book, "The Malay Dilemma", argued that ethnic Malays, whom he called the nation's rightful owners, were being eclipsed economically by ethnic Chinese.

While a seemingly unlikely choice to lead an opposition that had formed in large part to challenge corruption alleged during his own 22-year rule, Mahathir was seen as the best hope for catalyzing a "Malay tsunami" - shifting the country's ethnic majority from the party they have always been loyal to. Unofficial results showed Mahathir's bloc with a wider lead, Bloomberg reports. He had previously run the country from 1981 to 2003, and wielded power even after he stepped down.

Najib had faced increased public anger over a goods-and-services tax that boosted prices and a money laundering scandal involving hundreds of millions of dollars siphoned from state investment firm 1MDB.

1MDB was founded by Najib and investigators in the United States said some $4.5 billion has been misappropriated from the fund by his cronies and stepson to buy luxury penthouses, expensive jewelry and artwork. Regardless of the election results, he said there will be knee-jerk market reactions.

"I am 92 going on 93", Mahathir said in January.

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