Ruling coalition wins Malaysia’s general election

Kuala Lumpur, May 6 (IANS) Malaysia’s ruling coalition won a fiercely contested general election with a comparatively slimmer majority, polling results showed early Monday. The opposition declined to accept the result citing electoral fraud allegations.

The ruling coalition Barisan National secured 133 seats in the 222-seat lower house of parliament, down from the 140 seats in the last election in 2008.

The ruling coalition owns its victory largely to the lead in its strongholds of the state of Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia, which contributed a total of 47 parliamentary seats, reported Xinhua.

Barisan managed to make some improvement in the state elections, in which it won in nine out of the 12 states contested.

Speaking at a press conference early Monday, Barisan chairman and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Razak urged the opposition to accept the election result “with open heart”.

He also stressed that the Barisan government would fulfill all the promises it made to the public.

The ruling coalition survived a “Chinese Tsunami” as the Chinese minority voted overwhelmingly for the opposition, which Najib said he didn’t expect.

“I expected to some extent, but I didn’t expect to this extent,” he said.

Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said Barisan is depending of its large support in the rural areas dominated by the Malay majority, while doing badly in urban areas.

Meanwhile, the opposition has declined to accept the election results, accusing wide spread to electoral fraud in the election.

“We are not accepting the results,” opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim told a press conference, “until the Election Commission responds and issues an official statement to the allegations of irregularities and fraud”.

Anwar has claimed victory shortly after the close of polling, urging the ruling coalition and election commission “not to hijack the results”.

A record high of more than 80 percent of the 13.3 million voters cast ballots in the closest election ever held in the country.

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