Malaysia's Mahathir, world's oldest leader to be sworn-in post shock win


Malaysians celebrated the 92-year-old's unexpected victory over Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose popularity had plunged over rising living costs and in the wake of a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The election commission said Mahathir's opposition alliance had won 115 seats, over the threshold of 112 seats needed to form a government.

Malaysia's veteran ex-leader Mahathir Mohamad, 92, won a historic election victory Thursday, in a political natural disaster that toppled the country's scandal-plagued premier and ousted a regime that had ruled for over six decades.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says Pakatan Harapan had won a clear majority and is entitled to form the government.

Official results early on Thursday showed that Mahathir's Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) had won 113 of parliament's 222 seats, clinching the simple majority required to rule in the country's most stunning election result.

Mahathir, Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, stepped out of retirement and defected from the party he helped entrench in order to lead the opposition. The leader and 1MDB deny any wrongdoing.

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Factors such as the recent redrawing of electoral boundaries, which created more ethnic Malay majority seats, and the midweek polling date expected to depress voter turnout were also supposed to favor BN.

As results signaled a win for Mahathir, iShares MSCI Malaysia ETF based on the nation's stocks dropped as much as 2.6 percent to the lowest since February. Mahathir said he would seek a pardon for Anwar.

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

"There were defamatory and seditious statements that said Barisan cheated during the general elections", said Najib in an address at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on Thursday (May 10) morning.

"We trust the wisdom of the King to make the best choice", he said, in an indication that he was stopping short of conceding power.

Mahathir's opposition wrested control of key sted BN's grip in strongholds like Sarawak. "That is another example of sedition", Najib said, flanked by outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, outgoing Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and other senior members of his government.

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That was before Mahathir joined the fray, saying he didn't mind "being used by the opposition" to oust Najib.

As the former head of Barisan Nasional, Mahathir served 22 years as the country's leader before retiring in 2003. Anwar, whose sentence ends on June 8, should be free to participate in politics, he said.

Suva Selvan, a 48-year-old doctor, said he felt the country had just won its independence.

The paper's website also contained some diplomatic words from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who said Singapore was looking forward to developing a "constructive relationship" with the next Malaysian leadership.

He said the National Front "will honor the principle of democracy in the parliament".

Ethnic-Malay Muslims have long tended to support BN for affirmative-action policies that give them government contracts, cheap housing and guaranteed university admissions.

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