Sunday, November 28

Najib bows out, Dr M makes a comeback


KUCHING: Datuk Seri Najib Razak suffered a major setback in a tumultuous election on Wednesday, losing his overall majority in the 14th general election.

Najib, the Barisan Nasional (BN) leader, dissolved parliament on April 7, more than two months before the end of his five-year-term, expecting to cruise to a smashing victory that would give him the mandate to see Malaysia through after the difficult times during his second term as Malaysia’s sixth prime minister.

Najib’s BN did not have enough seats or not enough lawmakers to even form a simple majority, let alone and outright control, to remain in power.

The incumbent BN only managed to win 79 seats while Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) captured 104 and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) won 18 seats.

The results of the GE14, which was received at 4.40am were announced by Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah during a media conference about 5am yesterday.

DAP (Sarawak and Sabah) won nine seats, Warisan Sabah (eight), Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (one) and Independent (three).

This means Pakatan Harapan, which comprises PKR, PPBM, DAP and Amanah won 113 seats. With the inclusion of Warisan, PH now has 121 seats.

BN, which consists of 13 parties, has dominated the political framework and easily won each election since the first election in 1959.

Following BN’s loss, Najib’s tenure as prime minister automatically ended, paving the way for Dr Mahathir to be sworn in as the seventh prime minister of Malaysia.

In a special press conference aired live in Astro Awani yesterday, Najib said he was proud of what he had achieved in his years as prime minister.

He accepted the verdict of the people, saying BN was committed to respect the principles of Parliament.

“But because no single party achieved a simple majority, the Yang DiPertuan Agong will make a decision as to who will be prime minister,” he said.

He thus urged the people to respect the Agong’s decision and trust that the Agong will make the best decision.

He thanked BN members and members of the BN famil, saying they would carry out their responsibilities so that the people could trust BN more in the future.

Najib, the eldest son of the second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, was born in Kuala Lipis District in Pahang on July 23, 1953.

He received his primary and secondary education at St Johnfs Institution, Kuala Lumpur. He later attended Malven College in Worcestershire, England, and subsequently went to the University of Nottingham, where he received a bachelor degree in industrial economics in 1974.

Najib returned to Malaysia in 1974 and entered the business world, serving briefly in Bank Negara (Central Bank) and later with Petronas as a public affairs manager.

In 1976, Najib married Tengku Puteri Zainah Tengku Eskandar (‘Kui Yie’) with whom he has three children: Mohd Nizar (born 1978), Mohd Nazidudin and Puteri Norlisa. In 1987, he divorced Ku Yie and married Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor with whom he has two children: Mohd Norashman and Nooryana Najwa.

Najib was sworn as prime minister on April 3, 2009 to succeed Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He is the president of the Umno, the leading party in Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

He was first elected to Parliament in 1976, at the age of 23, replacing his late father in Pekan, Pahang.

From 1982 to 1986 he was the Pahang Menteri Besar before entering the federal cabinet of Dr Mahathir in 1986 the minister of culture, youth and sports. He served in various cabinet posts throughout the remainder of the 1980s and 1990s, including as minister of defence and minister of education.

He became deputy prime minister on Jan 7, 2004, serving under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, before replacing Badawi a year after Barisan Nasional suffered heavy losses in the 2008 election. Under his leadership, Barisan Nasional won the 2013 election, although for the first time in Malaysia’s history the opposition won the majority of the popular vote.

Najib’s tenure as prime minister has been marked by economic liberalisation measures, such as cuts to government subsidies, loosening of restrictions on foreign investment, and reductions in preferential measures for ethnic Malays in business.

After the 2013 election his government was marked by the pursuit of a number of its critics on sedition charges, the imprisonment of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim following a conviction for sodomy, the implementation of a goods and service tax (GST), and an ongoing scandal involving state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB), which led to rallies calling for Najib’s resignation, spearheaded by the grassroots movement Bersih. These protests culminated in the Malaysian Citizensf Declaration by Dr Mahathir, PH and NGOs to oust Najib.

Najib’s response to the corruption accusations is alleged to tighten his grip on power by replacing the deputy prime minister, suspending two newspapers and pushing through parliament a controversial National Security Council Bill that provides the prime minister with unprecedented powers.