Former PM Mahathir to focus on writing about Malaysia’s history, after shock defeat in polls

Former Malaysia prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said he was saddened by the outcome at the polls, but accepts the people’s choice. PHOTO: AFP/MALAYSIA'S DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION

SINGAPORE - Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad announced on Wednesday that he will turn to writing about his country’s history, following his defeat in last Saturday’s general election.

In his first comments following his big electoral loss, he said he was saddened by the outcome at the polls, but accepts the people’s choice.

His Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) lost all the seats it had contested, and for that reason, Tun Dr Mahathir said all its plans for the country “had to be dropped”.

The 97-year-old also expressed hope that whoever forms the next government will be able to resolve the country’s problems, he said in a Facebook post.

On his shift to writing, he pointed out that “many events that happen in the country have not yet been recorded, including what happened in British times”.

He added that he is “open to be interviewed by an author”.

Dr Mahathir lost his Langkawi parliamentary seat in last Saturday’s general election – his first defeat in Malaysia’s parliamentary polls since 1969.

The Langkawi seat was won by Perikatan Nasional’s Suhaimi Abdullah, who garnered 25,463 votes, or 38.1 per cent of the vote share.

Dr Mahathir garnered only 4,566 votes, or 6.8 per cent. This is less than the 12.5 per cent vote threshold required to keep his deposit as a candidate.

Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Armishah Siraj came in second with 11,945 votes, or 17.9 per cent of the vote share. A member of the Kampung Kuah Umno branch in Langkawi, he is familiar with issues on the ground.

In comparison, Dr Mahathir won 54.9 per cent of the 34,527 valid votes in the 2018 General Election, beating BN’s 29.1 per cent.

Dr Mahathir’s loss comes despite widespread appreciation for his contributions in Langkawi, but it dealt a final blow to Pejuang.

The party contested a total of 125 parliamentary seats, 13 of which were in Kedah, but won none.

Kedah, which includes Langkawi, is also Dr Mahathir’s home state.

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