Former Malaysian leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad is poised to become the world’s oldest prime minister after defeating Najib Razak in a fiercely contested election that put an end to the ruling coalition’s six-decade hold on power.
Mahathir, 92, who was prime minister between 1981 and 2003, led the opposition coalition, Pakatan Harapan, to its first election victory since Malaysian independence in 1957, winning an outright parliamentary majority. He will be sworn in by the king on 10 May 2018.
A euphoric mood gripped Malaysia at the announcement, which many had believed impossible. We are so happy, such a proud day for Malaysia,” said David Thaiga, 57, who joined others in the street to celebrate. I’m so happy I survived to see this. I wish I could jump up and down for joy, but be sure my heart is jumping up and down. I’m so proud of the people of Malaysia, especially the young people and the Malays who swung it.
Mahathir’s win marks the end of the nine-year tenure of Najib, who came to power in 2009 and whose reputation was tarnished by the 1MDB corruption scandal in which $2.6bn was embezzled from a government fund he was overseeing – including $681m that was alleged to have ended up in his personal bank account.