In a shocking victory for the opposition in the country, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has defeated current Malaysian PM Najib Razak in a simple majority vote.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday said that he accepted the result of the general elections, which saw his ruling coalition lose to the opposition led by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Stopping short of admitting defeat, Najib said that the King will have to decide on the next Prime Minister, reports Efe news.
After the counting of votes, the Election Commission confirmed a historic victory for the opposition, led by Mahathir, 92, which defeated the ruling coalition which had been in power since the country's independence.
Official results show that the opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) has won 113 of total 222 seats - crossing the required majority of 112 - while the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) managed to get just 79 seats.
The Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) emerged as the third biggest force with 18 seats. The EC published the first results in early hours of Thursday after not giving any information for many hours, while unofficial sources had started reporting the opposition's victory by Wednesday night.
In his first statement after victory, Mahathir told his supporters that his objective was to re-establish the rule of law after the corruption scandals that characterised Najib's term.
Mahathir, who was the longest-serving prime minister of the country between 1981-2003, was Najib's patron in the beginning of the latter's political career, but returned from retirement to defeat his former protege.
Born in a small village near the border with Thailand, Mahathir is known for steering Malaysia from a mining backwater to become one of Asia's fastest-growing economies. At 92, he would become the world's oldest leader when he is sworn in on Thursday. But Mahathir promised to hand over the premiership to Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister who is in prison for sodomy charges and is scheduled to be released in June. The win for the opposition ended the reign of Najib Razak, a former protégé of Mahathir, with whom he fell out after a scandal involving the state development fund 1MDB broke out. Najib denied any wrongdoing.
The rout of BN was made possible by a Malaysian tsunami, said an editorial by local media Malaysiakini, referring to the swing of BN core supporters to PH. These core voters may include Malay people in rural areas, who have long relied on subsidies and favorable policies espoused by BN.
PH also won five of the 12 state legislatures, even breaking into BN traditional fortress such as the states of Johor and Kedah. Several BN heavyweights and cabinet ministers failed to retake their parliamentary seats.
If the opposition forms a government, it is expected that several policies introduced under the BN government will be revoked, including the unpopular 6-percent Goods and Services Tax. Mahathir has promised to reintroduce a fuel subsidy and abolish the debts of palm farmers.