The 97-year-old elder statesman of Malaysian politics misplaced his parliamentary seat – the primary electoral defeat in 53 years.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has misplaced his parliamentary seat in Saturday’s common elections, possible ending the profession of certainly one of Asia’s most enduring politicians.
Mahathir got here in fourth in a five-way battle in his long-held constituency within the vacation resort island of Langkawi, the nation’s election fee mentioned on Saturday.
“It’s a serious shock that not solely has he [Mahathir] misplaced, however he has misplaced in a spectacular vogue,” Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi, reporting from exterior of Kuala Lumpur, mentioned.
“He has not solely misplaced his seat however has misplaced his deposit as a result of he has not been in a position to get greater than an eighth of votes solid. His occasion has additionally not managed to win a single seat.”
It was the 97-year-old’s first electoral defeat in additional than half a century. He served as Malaysia’s prime minister for 22 years from 1981 to 2003.
He returned to politics two years in the past within the wake of the multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB. Mahathir held the Guinness World Report for being the “world’s oldest present prime minister” when he grew to become prime minister in 2018, simply two months shy of his 93rd birthday.
‘Crooks or jailbirds’
Visibly slowed by age however nonetheless trying wholesome, Mahathir ran this time round underneath his personal Homeland Fighters’ Occasion and had laughed off strategies he ought to retire, telling reporters earlier than the election that he had a “good probability” of profitable.
“I’m nonetheless standing round and speaking to you, I believe, making affordable solutions,” Mahathir mentioned.
He added his occasion wouldn’t type any alliances with events which might be led by “crooks or jailbirds” – an obvious reference to the United Malays Nationwide Organisation (UMNO), the occasion of jailed former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition – which is dominated by his UMNO occasion – misplaced floor to rival alliances led by former Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and opposition chief Anwar Ibrahim.
The corruption-tainted Barisan Nasional coalition, which dominated Malaysia since its independence from Britain till 2018, might nonetheless return to energy relying on post-election alliances.
Mahathir has been criticised for ruling the Southeast Asian nation with an iron fist from 1981 to 2003, however he’s additionally hailed for serving to remodel the nation from a sleepy backwater into one of many world’s prime exporters of high-tech items.
His lengthy management supplied political stability, and he gained the title of “Father of Fashionable Malaysia” as he oversaw the development of highways and industrial parks within the Eighties and Nineties.
The reformist Pakatan Harapan alliance led by Mahathir received a surprising victory over UMNO and Najib, who was later convicted of corruption and is at the moment serving a 12-year jail sentence.
Mahathir grew to become prime minister once more, however his authorities collapsed in lower than two years on account of infighting.
He has warned that Najib could be freed if the jailed politician’s allies in UMNO win.
He additionally provided to change into prime minister a 3rd time, however observers mentioned he had no probability from the start.
His titanic clashes with opposition chief Anwar, his erstwhile heir-in-apparent with whom he had a bitter falling out, have dominated and formed Malaysian politics over the previous 20 years.
In the long run, age was his greatest opponent.
“Mahathir’s time has handed,” Bridget Welsh of the College of Nottingham Malaysia advised AFP earlier this month forward of the election.