Malaysian coalition wins polls
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s ethnically mixed ruling coalition retained a key two-thirds parliamentary majority on Sunday, defeating an Islamist-led opposition after a campaign dominated by the role of Islam in a multi-faith nation.
In the first electoral test since veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad ended his 22-year rule by retiring last October, the Barisan Nasional coalition won 146 of the 219 seats in parliament, with 30 percent of seats undeclared at 1746 GMT.
The two-thirds majority allows Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s government to pass laws uncontested.
At the same time, opposition parties had won only 12 seats.
Azizah Ismail, the wife of jailed former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, lost her parliamentary seat as the party she headed was wiped from the electoral map in Sunday’s elections in Malaysia. Permatang Pauh, the seat Azizah, the People’s Justice Party president, held had been considered the only stronghold of the five it won in 1999 because it was Anwar’s former district.
But Mohamad Pirdaus Ismail, the UMNO candidate, defeated Azizah by 36 votes, said Jalil Abdul Majid, a state government official. —Agencies