Malaysia’s ‘people’s tsunami’ led by the country’s former ruler Mahathir Mohamad has won a majority in parliament, ending the 60-year rule of the National Front.
The election results marked the first time the National Front had been voted out of power in the six decades since Malaysia gained independence from Britain, official news wire Bernama said.
The Election Commission said official results had the opposition so far winning 113 seats out of 222. The Barisan Nasional (BN), or National Front, has so far won 79.
Dr Mahathir’s stunning defeat of the ruling coalition means that he will become the oldest elected leader in the world. He was credited with modernizing Malaysia during his time as leader.
With new government, Malaysians would see their first woman Deputy Prime Minister. The PH election manifesto states that PKR President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail is slated as Dr Mahathir’s deputy if the party came to power.
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at almost 93 years old achieved what virtually everyone thought was the impossible task of galvanizing mass support against the once impregnable BN’s grip on power which before today’s historic defeat was the world’s longest ruling political party.
Mahathir is expected to be sworn in as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister on Friday. Dr Mahathir was the fourth prime minister and ironically the same man who led the BN to victory in five successive general elections from 1982 to 1999.
“The new government would not seek “revenge” against political opponents, however, seek to restore the rule of law and prosecute those who had breached it”, Mahathir announced soon after results declared.
The BN led by caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak managed to win only 79 seats, a far cry from 132 that it had in the last Parliament seats. As many as six senior BN Cabinet ministers were soundly defeated at the polls and this is unprecedented.
Signs of a political tsunami or people’s power began to emerge from around 10pm when the BN lost states like Melaka and Negeri Sembilan to PH while the Islamist PAS retained Kelantan with even bigger margins and got an unexpected bonus by winning Terengganu.
It was obvious that the once mighty BN’s defeat was further fueled by the far-reaching influence that the opposition wielded over the social media bombarding it with issues of cost of living that has gone up hitting everybody’s pocket after Najib introduced the 6% Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2014.
The BN’s popularity shrank further in the last few years with the 1MDB debacle haunting Najib coupled with financial problems within Felda that unsettled the palm oil smallholders and lately the controversial legislations like the Anti-Fake News Act that was rushed through Parliament just before its dissolution on April 7.
Prime Minister-elect Dr Mahathir has vowed as the key promise in the PH election manifesto to abolish the GST if the party came to power with the same fate to await the Anti-Fake News law.
It’s almost 15 years ago that Dr Mahathir quit as prime minister after over two decades in office and the government to be formed shortly after his swearing-in certainly has a lot on its plate to usher in a whole new era for Malaysia.