From Najib to Mahathir

Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional coalition was staring at defeat soon after 10pm on May 9. But a tense 24 hours would ensue before Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's new Prime Minister, was sworn in at 10pm the next night.
This is an account of the eventful day.

Dr Mahathir's clash with Mr Najib on the issue saw the former premier - and two senior Umno leaders Muhyiddin Yassin and Shafie Apdal - part ways with the party, and in a matter of years build up two parties, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Warisan Sabah, that attracted votes away from BN on the peninsula as well as in Sabah.

Dr Mahathir remains especially popular, and many Malaysians remember his 22 years at the helm fondly. Many traditional opposition supporters still have not warmed to him and harbour reservations about his switch. Still, one poll showed that up to 60 per cent of respondents favour him compared with some 40 per cent for Mr Najib. That these former Umno leaders prevailed in spite of the odds against them reflects an overriding desire among voters for change, but arguably also for fair play.

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