Mahathir Mohamad to be sworn in as Malaysia's PM today

Mahathir Mohamad to be sworn in as Malaysia's PM today

This comes after Malaysia's ruling party Barisan Nasional led by Prime Minister Najib Razak lost the general election to the Opposition alliance for the first time in 61 years.

Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today it was "bullshit" that the Attorney-General claimed to be advising the government as the government is now non-existent.

Mahathir said the new government would seek the release and full pardon of Anwar Ibrahim, an opposition icon imprisoned on sodomy charges that Anwar and his supporters said were fabricated by the National Front to crush the opposition.

Mahathir says he expects to be sworn in as prime minister today.

Mahathir was the country's prime minister for 22 years between 1981 and 2003, making him the country's longest-serving leader.

His government was accused of gerrymandering while activists said he hurled cash and gifts at voters and there was a litany of problems with the electoral roll, including dead people appearing on the list.

"I accept the verdict of the people and BN is committed to the principles of democracy", said Najib, looking shattered.

After a marathon night of ballot counting that stretched well past 3 a.m. local time, the Election Commission's official tally showed Mahathir's coalition Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope), along with an allied party in Sabah, had netted 121 seats, comfortably surpassing the 112 threshold needed to form the next government.

Mahathir disputed Najib's assertion during a concession speech that Malaysia's king must appoint the new prime minister because no single party has a parliamentary majority, calling it "confusion".

Hundreds of Malaysians were lined up on the road leading to the palace, waving party flags and cheering the 92-year-old Mahathir.

He vowed to cancel an unpopular goods and service tax imposed since 2015 and criticized a recently introduced "fake news" law.

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.

Analysts said Thursday that Mahathir's strong track record in handling the Asian financial crisis of two decades ago could prevail in the long run. Barisan Nasional, the coalition that has led the country since independence in 1964, only won 79 seats, a far cry from the 133 it won in the 2013 election.

On the eve of Wednesday's polling, perhaps to stave off any panic in the markets, Mahathir's Alliance of Hope issued a statement saying it was committed to "responsible and progressive fiscal reforms" in an orderly, transparent and systematic manner.

"This election has proved to us that we moved beyond racial politics", said Khoo Ying Hooi, a professor of global and strategic studies at the University of Malaya.

His wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, was sitting next to Mahathir at the news conference. Before the poll he had promised to step aside once Anwar was free and let him become prime minister.

Following the delay in his swearing in as the seventh prime minister, Dr Mahathir said no one is entitled to claim themselves to be advising the non-existent government.

Najib, who was seeking a third term after coming to power in 2009, has been dogged by allegations of corruption as at least 10 countries investigate the US$4.5 billion missing from a state investment fund known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). On Thursday he said that if Najib had done anything wrong he would "face the consequences".



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