Malaysia’s general election that was extremely boisterous and not without extreme violence too, has made an unexpected turn and the incumbent prime minister, Najib Razak lost the election to opposition party, led by Malaysia’s former prime minister, 92 years old Dr. Mahathir Muhammadu.
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As reported by South China Morning Post
Malaysia on Thursday woke up to the prospect of a seismic shift in its politics after the general election defeat of the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition helmed by Prime Minister Najib Razak.
In its place, the Pakatan Harapan bloc led by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad won a simple majority in parliament as it emerged victorious in 122 out of 222 seats, enough to form the next government.
MAHATHIR TO BE SWORN IN AT 5PM: STATE NEWS AGENCY
Malaysia’s Bernama news agency said Mahathir is “expected” to be sworn in as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister at Istana Negara – the seat of the country’s constitutional King Muhammad V – at 5pm.
The announcement came after Mahathir urged the monarch to expedite his appointment this morning. Under the country’s constitution, the king is obliged to appoint a member of parliament whom he believes has the majority support from other lawmakers as prime minister.
Malaysia practices a unique form of monarchy, where nine hereditary Malay sultans take turns to be the country’s king for a term of five years.
MAHATHIR HOPES KING WILL APPOINT HIM PRIME MINISTER TODAY
Speaking at a press conference, Mahathir said he hoped to be sworn in by 5pm today.
The veteran leader said there had been “some confusion” after the King Muhammad V chose to have an audience with Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, leader of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People’s Justice Party or PKR) instead of with him.
Convention is for the monarch to have an audience with the leader of the party or coalition who won the elections, and thereafter ask that person to be prime minister.
This protocol takes after British constitutional monarchy conventions.
In this case, Wan Azizah was invited because all four component parties of the Pakatan Harapan bloc used her PKR party’s symbol during the election.
The bloc however had nominated Mahathir as their choice for prime minister.
Mahathir said the “matter is being cleared” with the leaders of his coalition’s four component parties writing to the king indicating their support for him to be appointed premier.
He urged the monarch to act fast.
“Any delay will mean that we have no government. When we have no government we have no constitution, and no laws,” Mahathir said.
Sultan Ibrahim Ismail, the monarch of the state of Johor, on Thursday afternoon
WHAT NEXT FOR CHINA-MALAYSIA RELATIONS?
Asked about Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, Mahathir said “we don’t have a problem with it”.
However, he said the new government did not want “too many warships in this area”. Some of Mahathir’s allies have previously suggested China’s heavy investment into the country was a first step to plans to establish a military presence in the country owing to its strategic location along the Melaka Straits.
The previous Najib administration had said there was no basis for these claims.
Asked about Chinese investments in the country, Mahathir said “we need to study all the things done by the previous government… it’s not only about China, it’s about a lot of things.”
China has significantly ramped up investments in Malaysia – especially in infrastructure projects – but Mahathir has said he fears Malaysia could be left over-leveraged on Chinese-linked debt if any of the projects turn awry.
“As you know China has a long experience of dealing with unequal treaties and China dealt with them by renegotiating”. He said Malaysia would renegotiate agreements if it felt they were lopsided.
Among the major projects involving China is the 55 billion ringgit (US$13 billion), 688km East Coast Rail Link linking Kuala Lumpur to the country’s underdeveloped east coast. Mahathir has said the project – mainly financed by loans from the Chinese Export Import Bank – does not represent value for money.
It is being developed by the China Communications Construction Company.
NAJIB: KING WILL DECIDE WHO GOVERNS
Najib, speaking at a brief press conference on Thursday morning, conceded his coalition had not won a simple majority, but added that no other party had either.
Instead, he said the country’s constitutional king Muhammad V had the sole discretion of deciding who would be premier.
“I accept the verdict of the people and BN is committed to respecting the principle of parliamentary democracy,” Najib said, flanked by top lieutenants.
Najib’s comments allude to the fact that Mahathir’s four-party Pakatan Harapan bloc is not formally registered as a coalition.
The election commission allowed the four parties to run under a single banner, but under the law, they remain distinct entities.
The defeated premier’s statement – he did not take questions from reporters – immediately sparked confusion online, with many wondering if he left room for further political manoeuvres to stay in power.
Mahathir, 92, the country’s premier from 1981 to 2003 and Najib’s ex-mentor, has been declared the preferred choice of the Pakatan Harapan camp.
Previously, Pakatan Harapan governed just two of the country’s 13 states – Selangor and Penang.
After last night’s vote, however, it holds the majority of parliamentary seats in the states of Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Selangor, Perak and Kedah and Penang.
It looks set to form the provincial governments in five of these seven states, with Perak and Kedah poised to have hung state assemblies.
BN, which won 79 parliamentary seats, retained the states of Pahang, Perlis and the Borneo state of Sarawak.
BN and Pakatan Harapan’s informal ally in Sabah, Parti Warisan Sabah, have an equal number of seats in the state assembly, which means the province is also staring at the prospect of a hung state legislature.
In his remarks on Thursday, Najib said the verdict showed he and BN had no intention to “steal” the election as earlier alleged by Mahathir and his allies.
The BN leader touted his economic track record, including the addition of 3 million new jobs since he came to power in 2009, and said he “tried his best”.
“I would like to thank all leaders of BN at national and grass roots level for their hard work in conducting activities,” he said.
As reported by New Strait Times
TunTun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be sworn in as 7th Prime Minister today
Petaling Jaya: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be sworn in as Malaysia’s seventh Prime Minister today (Thursday) at Istana Negara.
Dr Mahathir said the palace had contacted him after it was made known that Pakatan Harapan (PH) had achieved the majority in the 14th General Election although the Election Commission (EC) had yet to make the official announcement.
Dr Mahathir, who is the chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), said the opposition was informed by the EC that it can form the government after achieving 112 seats. According to him, this was achieved based on its own unofficial vote tally.
“We reached the majority and today, (I) will swear in at the palace and PKR will appoint Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the deputy prime minister,” he said at a PH press conference here.
Wan Azizah attended the press conference together with PPBM president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Parti Amanah Negara (PAN) president Mohamad Sabu and DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang.
Elaborating on what kind of cabinet PH will have, Dr Mahathir said it will comprise men, women and the youth.
“We have women, men and youth. At the moment, we have only decided on who will be the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister after this (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim).
“We will seek to secure the royal pardon for Anwar after he is released from jail on June 8 and then he can become the Prime Minister.
“But according to the legal process before becoming a Prime Minister, he (Anwar) will have to first contest in an election to become a member of Parliament,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said he has yet to be contacted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Barisan Nasional’s defeat in the GE14.
“Najib’s gone … we will not seek revenge but we will restore the laws of the country,” he said.