Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is to contest the result of the parliamentary election in which the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Najib Razak has secured a majority. Ibrahim, who had hoped for a stunning victory, has alleged widespread fraud in the polling.
The election commission declared that the ruling coalition, the Barisan Nasional (National Front), has won 133 seats extending its 56-year-old rule, while the opposition has bagged 89 seats in a house of 222.
"We want the election commission to explain the irregularities. We want the election commission to resolve the disputed seats," Anwar told reporters shortly after the poll outcome was announced.
The leader of the three-party Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) bloc says many constituencies were flooded with tens of thousands of "dubious" voters affecting the electoral outcome.
Najib, who is under pressure after the coalition's relatively poor performance in the election, urged the opposition to accept the result.
"For the sake of national interest, I ask all parties, especially the opposition, to accept this result with an open heart. Overall, the results show a trend of polarisation which worries the government. If it is not addressed, it can create tension or division in the country," said Najib.
The result is likely to remain unchanged as legal challenges against the ruling party have been turned down by courts in the past.
This is the worst-ever performance by the coalition prompting the partners to heap pressure on Razak. "We could see Najib step down by the end of this year. He may put up a fight, we don't know, but he has definitely performed worse. He does not have so much bargaining power," a senior official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
In the 2004 election, the ruling coalition won 90.41% of seats while in 2008 the alliance secured 63.06%. The vote share has dropped to 59.91% in the latest parliamentary election.
Ethnic Chinese, who constitute nearly 25% of the voters in Malaysia, have been increasingly turning to the opposition over the last few years. The ruling party also appears to have lost favour among ethnic Malays which is seen as one of the factors for the poor show.