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September 16

Barisan Nasional retains power

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BN WINS: Najib celebrates BN’s victory to enable it to form the government at Menara Dato Onn in Kuala Lumpur. Also present are his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, BN deputy chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and wife Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman and Umno Wanita chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (seated left). — Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has received his first election mandate from the people to continue to lead the country as the sixth prime minister after the Barisan Nasional (BN) secured a simple majority of 112 parliamentary seats in the 13th General Election 12.50 this morning.

The final outcome of the polls is pending as results for several of the 222 parliamentary seats have yet to be announced.

This marks a historic moment for Najib and the nation because it is the first time a son of a former prime minister has successfully led the 13-party coalition through the polls which had a record of 13.27 million registered voters.

Najib had campaigned tirelessly throughout the country to convince voters of the transformation within the BN and the pledges in the BN’s manifesto, which places the people’s interest first, and to take Malaysia to new heights.

Najib and several leaders of the component parties had gathered at the BN headquarters at Menara Dato Onn in the capital to await the outcome of the election.

The BN has also retained Pahang, Perlis, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu and Sabah so far.

Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof made a televised announcement of the achievement of the coalition at nearly 1am.

Najib thanked the people for their support in returning the BN and urged all quarters, especially the opposition, to accept the outcome in line with the democratic process of the country.

He expressed concern over the swing of the Chinese voters against the BN, describing it as a “Chinese tsunami” which was very unhealthy for the country and caused by the racial sentiments played out in the election.

“For the sake of the country, only policies that are moderate should be accepted as our national policies. I expected to some extent, but not this extent, but despite the extent of the swing against us, the BN did not fall and will continue,” he told a news conference.

Najib said the government would next undertake the process of national reconciliation to reject extremism in favour of  moderate and accomodative politics because if the polarisation was not addressed, it would lead to tension and conflict in the country.

The BN returned to Putrajaya on the wave of a big turnout at the ballot box of between 70 and 80 per cent, from 76 per cent in 2008.

Najib, who is BN chairman and Umno president, took over the reins of government four years ago, from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009, a year after the BN lost its two-thirds majority for the first time, despite retaining Parliament in 2008.

Najib ousted Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s Mohd Fariz Abdul Talib with a bigger majority of 35,613 over his 2008 margin of 26,464 also against a PAS rival, to retain his stronghold in Pekan, the political seat of his father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was the country’s second prime minister.

BN component party leaders, MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party president Tan Sri William Mawan, won the Cameron Highlands and Saratok seats, respectively.

Palanivel, who lost in Hulu Selangor in 2008, had a 462-vote majority over his close challenger M. Manogaran (DAP) in a five-way tussle while Mawan prevailed with a 2,081 margin in a three-way fight. — Bernama