Malaysia’s veteran ex-leader Mahathir Mohamad, 92, won a historic election victory Thursday, in a political earthquake that toppled the country’s scandal-plagued premier and ousted a regime that had ruled for over six decades.
With the win, Mahathir will be sworn in as the world’s oldest elected leader.
In a stunning political upset that took pundits by surprise, Mahathir’s opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan ended the long hold on power of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has been in power in Malaysia since its birth as an independent country in 1957. The irony is that Mahathir once led BN as prime minister for 22 years since independence.
The thumping victory capped a dramatic political comeback for Mahathir, who came out of retirement to take on Prime Minister Najib Razak after the leader became embroiled in a massive corruption scandal.
“We are not seeking revenge … what we want is to restore the rule of law,” Mahathir said, referring to Najib’s multi-billion-dollar graft scandal surrounding state fund 1MDB.
“It’s a remarkable upset, a case study for political scientists,” noted The New York Times’ Thomas Fuller. “Malaysia’s opposition pulled off this sweeping electoral victory despite the ruling party’s control over newspapers and tv, despite decades of gerrymandering.”
Control over newspapers and TV? Decades of gerrymandering? Familiar facets to Singaporeans, who’ve reacted with high spirits to the shocking outcome of their neighbors’ 14th General Election. Reactions so far have been a mixed bag of booming glee, worried concerns and measured think pieces over how the change in power could affect Singapore in the years to come. Check ‘em out below.
(2/2) But as a Singaporean, I reserve some enthusiasm as I recall Mahathir’s tough stances against Singapore, and he did say in the run up to this elections that there are certain existing policies he would like to change. Interesting times ahead indeed.
— Debbie Yong (@debyong) May 10, 2018
What the second coming of Mahathir brings remains to be seen — PH has also said during campaigning they’ll relook the high speed rail contract
— Elizabeth Law (@lizzlaw_) May 10, 2018
Daim: “Why should Singapore be anxious? We are fighting corruption… We want to bring back the rule of law. If we prosper under a clean government, they will prosper more. Please tell them that.” #PRU14 #GE14
— Bhavan Jaipragas 八万 (@jbhavan) May 10, 2018
Memes (potential spoilers within)
— Jason Lim (@jas0nsg) May 9, 2018
Can’t help but thinking a national holiday in honour of his own victory isn’t the best first contribution Mahathir could have made to the Malaysian economy.
— Liz Corbin (@corbil88) May 9, 2018
Malaysia, you really boleh. The people have spoken. #GE14
— mrbrown (@mrbrown) May 10, 2018
With text by AFP