Malaysia polls: 97-year-old Mahathir suffers shock defeat

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Malaysia polls: 97-year-old Mahathir suffers shock defeat

Malaysia polls: 97-year-old Mahathir suffers shock defeat

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2022

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad lost his seat in Parliament after Langkawi on Saturday voted to put Perikatan Nasional (PN) in control of the island constituency.

It is the 97-year-old’s first defeat in Malaysia’s parliamentary elections since 1969.

The Langkawi seat was won by Suhaimi Abdullah from PN, with 25,463 votes, or 38.1% of the vote share, on Saturday.

Mahathir managed to garner only 4,566 votes, or 6.8% – less than the 12.5% vote threshold required to keep his deposit as a candidate.

Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Armishah Siraj came in second with 11,945 votes or 17.9%. Armishah is a member of the Kampung Kuah Umno branch in Langkawi and is familiar with issues on the ground.

In the 2018 election, Mahathir won 54.9 % of the votes, beating BN’s 29.1 %.

Mahathir won respect for bringing prosperity and development to the island by declaring it a tax-free haven in 1987 when he was Malaysia’s premier. The move drew a slew of tourism investments, including an international airport, ferry services and luxury hotels.

This loss deals a final blow to Mahathir’s Pejuang Party, which contested a total of 121 parliamentary seats, 13 of which were in Kedah.

Kedah, which includes Langkawi, is also Mahathir’s home state.

Voters were unconvinced by Mahathir’s promise of repairing the country’s economy and bringing back foreign investments and jobs by eradicating corruption within the government and cleaning up some RM42 billion (331 billion baht/US$9 billion) in national debt racked up by former prime minister Najib Razak.

Some voters had also grown disenchanted with Mahathir’s leadership after he resigned as prime minister in 2020 and failed to hand over the reins of government to Anwar Ibrahim as promised.

Anwar on Sunday claimed his Pakatan Harapan coalition had won enough votes to form the next government.

The Straits Times

Asia News Network

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