MALAYSIA’S outgoing Prime Minister Najib Razak said his ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition had “tried its best” but it was clear they had not done enough to win over the Malaysian people in yesterday’s election. But the scandal-ridden PM fell short of conceding power to opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH), saying it was up to the King to decide.
“I realise there are some limitations within our administration but my priority was always the safety and prosperity of the people of Malaysia,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.
“We accept the verdict of the people and BN is committed to respect the principles of parliament and democracy.”
But no one party received a true majority in yesterday’s polls, Najib said, meaning it falls to the Agong (King of Malaysia) to appoint a leader to form government. BN will “respect any decision by the Agong,” he said.
He asked the people to remain calm and place their faith in the King.
Pakatan Harapan, the victorious coalition, is made up of several political parties forming an alliance – People’s Justice Party (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), Amanah, and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, known as Bersatu.
But they have not been officially recognised as a consolidated contesting party. This means that, while PKR received 104 parliamentary seats over BN’s 79, no party has reached the 112-seat majority needed to form government.
Opposition leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad addressed Najib’s statement at a press conference just minutes after Najib left the stage.
He said the four parties of the PH alliance have written a letter to the King asking for the ceremony to swear in the seventh PM to the taken by 5pm today.
“We need to have this govt today, without delay. There is a lot of work to be done,” he said.
Najib said he, and his party, felt fortunate for the opportunity to lead the government of this “special country” for so long – Najib has been PM since 2009, but the ruling coalition has remained in power since Malaysia’s independence in 1957.
He pointed out the achievements of his administration. The 3 million jobs created, poverty at its lowest point, an infrastructure that’s considered world class, and the “high level of growth” in the economy were all things to be proud of, he said.
“Since 2009, the government has tried its best to upgrade the standard of living of the people and determine a better the future for the people.”
He thanked the party members and all those both on a national and grassroots level, that helped BN over the years and in this election campaign.
Many “weapons” were used against BN in the lead up to yesterday’s polls that amounted to “slander”, he said, referencing rumours that BN had committed “fraud” and dirty tactics to try to remain in power.
Claims that Najib was communing a meeting of his security council in preparation to declare a state of emergency after the results became clear were also an “example of sedition and a lie,” he said.
PH ended the night with a total 121 seats – 104 going to PKR, nine going to DAP, and eight to Parti Warisan Sabah, who will join the alliance.
The swearing in of Dr Mahathir as new prime minister was expected later today but has been postponed under directions from the palace.