Malaysian PM Najib Razak accepts general elections result

Malaysian PM Najib Razak accepts general elections result”

The election victory of opposition parties led by Malaysia's former authoritarian leader Mahathir Mohamad has raised uncertainty for the economy and for big projects linked to China's regional infrastructure initiative.

"There have been some delays over a lack of understanding of the constitution, but we'd like to make it clear that there is an urgency here: We need to form the government now - today", Mahathir said.

Mahathir's alliance, which counts on urban votes and support from the minority ethnic Chinese and Indian communities, had hoped the veteran Malay leader would win over voters usually loyal to BN.

Police stepped up security measures in the capital Kuala Lumpur, calling on supporters to be civil, and closed many busy roads to traffic.

The monarch will swear in Mahathir as prime minister at 2130 hours (1330 GMT), a statement from the office of Malaysia's king, Sultan Muhammad V, said.

Mr Mahathir was prime minister, at the head of the BN coalition, for 22 years, from 1981 until he stepped down in 2003.

"The bureaucracy and the rest of the government apparatus has never been used to this idea, having been, you know more than 60 years being under the same political party", he said.

In his concession speech on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Najib accepted his party's defeat and vowed to respect the verdict of the people, but remained defiant about his former mentor's victory.

Breaking Barisan Nasional's 61-year grip on Malaysia, Pakatan Harapan won 112 parliament seats needed for a simple majority to form the country's next government, according to Malaysian news reports.

He disputed outgoing premier Najib Razak's assertion that the king must appoint the new prime minister because no single party has a parliamentary majority.

The defeated former leader also saw several members of his Cabinet, ministers and deputy ministers, defeated at the polls, and crashed out of eight of the battles for control of 12 state legislatures contested in the election.

"This is history. I love Malaysia", said one voter who could barely speak through his tears.

Global ratings agency Moody's said some of his campaign promises, including the GST and a reintroduction of fuel subsidies, could be credit negative for Malaysia's sovereign debt rating. "More importantly, main political agenda for this election was more of domestic-centric economic issues, not global relations", he said. Najib's BN coalition only managed 79 seats. "It's really people power through the ballot".

Dr Mahathir said last night that his government is not seeking revenge and will follow the rule of law. Before the poll he had promised to step aside once Anwar was free and let him become prime minister.

His wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, was sitting next to Mahathir at the news conference.

Mahathir has pledged to get Anwar, who is due out of jail in June, a royal pardon and eventually pass the premiership to a man who is one of the country's most charismatic and popular politicians.

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. He was released in 2004 but jailed again by Najib in 2015.

The scandal is being investigated by at least six countries, although Malaysia's attorney general cleared Najib of any wrongdoing.

He said he would be sworn in Thursday.

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