Malaysia may renegotiate some deals with China - Mahathir

In a somber press conference hours after Malaysian election results were announced, outgoing Prime Minister Najib Razak said he would respect the outcome of voting, while accusing his electoral rival of sedition. Official results showed that Mahathir's Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) had won 113 of parliament's 222 seats, clinching the simple majority required to rule.

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's defeated leader Najib Razak said Thursday he accepted the will of the people after his long-ruling coalition suffered a shock election loss to 92-year-old former strongman Mahathir Mohamad.

Malaysia's prime minister Najib Razak concedes his defeat, saying he and his colleagues "accept the verdict of the people". This means that, while PKR received 104 parliamentary seats over BN's 79, no party has reached the 112-seat majority needed to form government.

Najib said he, and his party, felt fortunate for the opportunity to lead the government of this "special country" for so long - Najib has been PM since 2009, but the ruling coalition has remained in power since Malaysia's independence in 1957.

The opposition landslide delivers a decisive rebuke of Najib, who polls had predicted would lose the popular vote, but, due to significant gerrymandering and malapportionment, was projected to weather the challenge and retain control of the government.

The activity helped win Mahathir the title "Father of Modern Malaysia", but he was known for his strong-arm rule, although he fell short of some southeast Asian peers in ruthlessness. His critics say he restricted free speech and persecuted political opponents - none more so than his former deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, who remains in jail on charges of sodomy and corruption.

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Indeed, numerous problems with Malaysian politics criticized by Mahathir and his allies in their campaign against Najib were put in place by the former leader, according to Yang Razali Kassim, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). "I urge all Malaysians to be calm and to trust the king's wisdom to make the best choice".

In an even more unlikely change of heart, Mahathir buried a feud with Anwar, 70, a year ago and the two agreed to join forces to topple Najib. Mahathir helms an unwieldy four-party coalition that includes Malaysia's largest ethnic Chinese party.

Asifa Hanifah joined thousands of opposition supporters in central Kuala Lumpur who waved flags, cheered and honked vehicle horns.

Mahathir is a polarising figure and many voters are suspicious of him because of his authoritarian rule as prime minister between 1981 and 2003.

"It is not just a comeback", she said.

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. "We need to form a government now", he said, adding there was currently no government in Malaysia. That strategy appeared to have paid off. But PH member Democratic Action Party (DAP) used its own logo in Sabah and Sarawak, winning nine seats, and Parti Warisan Sabah which has said it will support PH won eight seats.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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