BN WINS SIMPLE MAJORITY OF 134 SEATS TO RETURN TO POWER
The Barisan Nasional has returned to power with a simple majority but the coalition suffered severe losses and upsets in the 12th general election, losing Penang and Kedah to the Opposition comprising a loose coalition of DAP, Keadilan and PAS.
The BN also failed to wrest Kelantan from PAS and unofficial results indicated that the coalition might have also lost Selangor and Perak to the Opposition, according to Bernama News Agency, making the election outcome the worst ever for the 14-party coalition since the 1969 general elections. BN also saw many of its top guns defeated at the hands of the Opposition candidates. They were Gerakan Action President and incumbent Chief Minister Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, MIC President and incumbent Works Minister Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu, People’s Progressive Party President Datuk M Kayveas, Minister of Rural Development, Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil, Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin and Deputy Home Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow who were voted out in shock defeats.
As of Press time, the BN has bagged a simple parliamentary majority of 134 seats, while DAP 23, PAS 20, and Keadilan 21.
The Chinese-backed Democratic Action Party (DAP) won Penang, a manufacturing hub that is home to many multinational firms. The opposition Islamist party PAS claimed shock victories in the northern heartland states of Kedah and Perak and crushed the ruling coalition in PAS’ stronghold in northeastern Kelantan state. The opposition also won Selangor state surrounding Kuala Lumpur.
The shock defeat in Penang stirred memories of the last time the ruling coalition failed to win a two-thirds majority, in 1969.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah said he accepted defeat “in some areas” and urged people to remain calm.
Police officials vowed to use tough internal security laws against anyone spreading rumours and banned victory processions after the results, one of which had triggered the 1969 violence.
“This looks like a revolution,” said Husam Musa, vice president of a hardline Islamist opposition party. “The people have risen and are united. The message to the Government is, ‘Enough is enough”, he told reporters. The poll, called before it was due in May 2009, was widely seen as a referendum on BN, and Malaysians took the opportunity to administer a stinging rebuke over price rises, religious disputes and concerns over corruption. Samy Vellu, chief of the Malaysian Indian Congress, one of the parties in the ruling BN, lost the Sungai Siput seat he had held for nearly 30 years, because many Indians thought he was out of touch with their concerns. Detained ethnic Indian activist and lawyer M Manoharan won the Kota Alam Shah seat despite being held under internal-security laws for organising a major anti-government protest last year.
About 70 percent of Malaysia’s 10.9 million eligible voters had cast ballots, the country’s top poll official said.
Keadilan leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the outcome clearly showed Malaysians want an alternative. “Going forward Malays, Indians and Chinese all have to work together and make a formidable pact,” he said. Prime Minister and BN chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi retained his Kepala Batas parliamentary seat while his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak won with a huge margin in Pékan.
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