Malaysia's Ruling Coalition Loses Election, Stunning Win For Dr Mahathir

5/10/2018 3:18:55 PM
written By : Team India Se Print

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has suffered a stunning election loss to former leader Mahathir Mohamad, who at 92 is set to become the world's oldest leader, reports CNN.

Scandal-plagued Mr Najib, 64, was thrashed at the polls by a coalition of parties led by Dr Mahathir, who led the country for 22 years and came out of retirement to challenge Mr Najib in the country's 14th general election.

The defeat is a humiliating fall from grace for Mr Najib and the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition which had led the country since its independence 61 years ago.

 With all 222 seats in the country's parliament accounted for, Dr Mahathir's Pakatan Harapan coalition had officially won 121 seats -- enough to form a simple majority and take control of the House. Barisan Nasional, in contrast, only had 79 seats -- a far cry from the 133 it won in the 2013 election.

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.

Dr Mahathir has never lost an election campaign, says Reuters.

The BBC says: Although the ruling Barisan Nasional’s popularity had been declining, most people believed Prime Minister Najib Razak was going to lead it to yet another win.

But the official count showed it didn't win enough seats in parliament to claim victory, a shock to most observers.

The cost of living has gone up a lot and the government brought in a new tax on goods and services - never a popular move.

But the biggest story out of Malaysia in recent years has been corruption. Mr Najib had set up a special fund to encourage foreign investment. But people involved in it have been accused of using it for their personal gain.

 Mr Najib was even accused of pocketing US$700 million. He has always denied this and has been cleared of wrongdoing at home, but he and the fund are still being investigated by several countries, including the US.

Dr Mahathir was prime minister and leader of the Barisan Nasional from 1981 until he stood down in 2003. He was also a mentor to Mr Najib.

 But two years ago he shocked everyone by saying he was so "embarrassed" by the corruption allegations that he was leaving his old party and would join the opposition Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope).

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