Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak has been sworn into office, at a ceremony with the king, after his coalition extended its long rule – but he faces protests from the opposition who allege electoral fraud.
He could also face a leadership challenge after his Barisan Nasional (BN) party won less than a two-thirds parliamentary majority and lost the popular vote. He had promised to strengthen the economy, distribute handouts to poor families and reverse policies based on race.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has called for a protest rally in Kuala Lumpur on May 8, claiming the result was marred by fraud.
“I don’t think it is fair to expect me to form a conclusion, or make a decision, based primarily on an election that we consider rather fraudulent,” Ibrahim said.
The government denied opposition claims that it funded flights to allow voters to cast ballots in close races and gave foreigners fake IDs.
The BN’s victory was greeted with relief in the markets, but there are doubts that it will be able to push through reforms.
The election saw many ethnic Chinese desert the ruling coalition and turn to the opposition.