Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has claimed victory in Malaysia's general election, as his Pakatan Harapan (PH) made significant gains against the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN), with enough seats to form a majority government.
The Election Commission's official result confirmed that as of 2.45am, PH and its allies had crossed the 112 seats required to govern in the 222-seat Parliament.
PH won 109 seats, with ally Warisan picking up six in Sabah. Two independents had also committed to the coalition, taking the tally to 117.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin told reporters at party president Najib Razak's residence that the coalition will "accept the will of the people, but the Prime Minister will be issuing a statement". "Whatever it is, we need to respect the will of the people and we need to make sure the election result is respected and we move on," he said.
BN stronghold Johor, as well as Melaka and Negeri Sembilan, fell into opposition hands.
Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president and Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai also lost his seat in Bentong, Pahang, and Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani was defeated in Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur.
LATE PRESS TIME
The Straits Times is late today because press time was held back to take in developments from the Malaysian elections.
BN leaders had gathered at the official residence of the Prime Minister in Putrajaya last night, apparently to figure out their next move.
Reflecting the sombre mood in the BN camp, Mr Khairy said on Twitter at midnight that "Malaysians have spoken. And the people's voice is sacred. Good luck, Malaysia and thank you to all voters for carrying out your responsibility to the nation".
The big winner of the night appeared to be the long-serving former premier, who told a press conference at 11.30pm that the vote count in most constituencies had been completed, but the Election Commission was refusing to endorse the results that would see Datuk Seri Najib Razak unseated and Umno ousted.
"It would seem that we have practically achieved that figure of 112 and the figure for BN is very much less than that. There is no way they can catch up," said Dr Mahathir.
"This isn't fake news. They are left far behind. The likelihood is that they (BN) would not be forming the government. We believe certain meetings are being held. And we worry what is the intention of these meetings which involve big names," he added.
He hopes to be sworn in as the prime minister today.
A new government can be formed with a simple majority of 112 out of Malaysia's 222 parliamentary seats. BN held 131 seats in Parliament before it was dissolved.
An Umno official told reporters at 1.30am that BN will hold a press conference at 11am today.
In a press conference just after midnight, EC chairman Hashim Abdullah said that it was still receiving results from officials across the country. "Of course, the public is waiting and we fully understand this. But please give us a bit of time to make an official announcement. Please don't worry, there is no conspiracy. We will make a declaration immediately. We ask the public to be patient," he said.
The EC announced as of 1.40am that eight state governments can be formed with a simple majority, half of them by PH. BN retained Perlis and Pahang, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) - which also has at least 15 parliamentary seats to its name - won in Kelantan and Terengganu, and PH took Johor and Negeri Sembilan from BN, while retaining Penang and Selangor.
PH also won control of Melaka.
PH's targeted campaign in Johor, the birthplace of ruling party Umno, yielded some shock defeats for BN and several of its ministers and deputy ministers, including Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) president S. Subramaniam in Segamat and MCA vice-president Chua Tee Yong in Labis.