Malaysia GE: Najib stops short of conceding power, says King will decide on next PM

Prime Minister Najib Razak at a press conference on May 10, 2018, a day after Malaysia's general election. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

KUALA LUMPUR - In his first appearance since his party's shock loss, former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak said that because no single party has a simple majority, the King will determine who the next prime minister will be.

"According to the Constitution, it will be based on who has the confidence of the majority in the Dewan Rakyat," he told a press conference on Thursday morning (May 10).

"We trust the wisdom of the King to make the best choice," he said, in an indication that he was stopping short of conceding power.

The Election Commission's official results tally early on Thursday morning showed that Pakatan Harapan (PH) and its allies had surpassed the 112 seats required in the 222-seat Parliament with 121 seats.

The Barisan Nasional coalition won 79.

PH leader, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, 92, claimed victory on Thursday morning.

PH's member parties contested the election under the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) logo, winning 104 seats. But PH member Democratic Action Party (DAP) used its own logo in Sabah and Sarawak, winning nine seats, and Parti Warisan Sabah, which has said it will support PH, won eight seats.

In an eight-minute address in Malay, Mr Najib also said he accepted the verdict of the people and that the Barisan Nasional (BN) is committed to respecting the principles of parliamentary democracy.

The 65-year-old BN chairman made his statement at Umno headquarters in Putra World Trade Centre, flanked by party leaders, including Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Khairy Jamaluddin.

Mr Najib said he was committed to ensuring the best decision in the interests of the people and the country.

"Malaysia is a special country, I and my colleagues feel honoured to have led the country. I want to thank my colleagues in BN again, and to their families for their support for BN," he said, sounding emotional at some points.

He started his statement by noting that there had been rumours the night before that the National Security Council had met and was going to declare a state of emergency.

"That was another lie, there was no such meeting," he said.

He also noted that since he took over in 2009, his government had tried its best to ensure people's quality of life and the future of the next generation.

"Poverty levels are their lowest, we have world-class infrastructure and the economy has grown to a level we can be proud of, as verified by IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank," he said.

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