Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Frances Harrison
"Dr Mahathir was almost mobbed by photographers when he came to claim victory"
 real 28k

The BBC's Simon Ingram
"Malaysia's feisty and single-minded leader has proved the doubters wrong"
 real 28k

The BBC's Frances Harrison
"Supporters broke into song when they learned the prime minister had retained his seat"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 30 November, 1999, 14:13 GMT
Mahathir secures fifth term
mahathir A jubilant Dr Mahathir celebrates the win

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has scored a resounding victory in the country's general elections, propelling himself into office for a fifth consecutive term.

Malaysia's Snap Election
Dr Mahathir's governing Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition achieved its goal of clinching the two-thirds parliamentary majority it needed to amend the constitution.

The country's election commission said Dr Mahathir's 14-party alliance had secured 148 seats in the 193-member parliament.

At a celebration party, the 73-year-old leader cut a cake to cheers of "Mahathir can".

Dr Mahathir told reporters: "Clearly the Barisan Nasional is still the party of choice of the people of Malaysia."

Despite securing an overwhelming victory, Dr Mahathir faced a resurgent opposition dominated by Islamic fundamentalists.

The prime minister's own party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), lost ground to the Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) in a shift widely attributed to the backlash over the sacking and imprisonment of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

PAS clung on to the Kelantan state assembly and overthrew the ruling coalition's state government in oil- and gas-rich Terengganu.

PAS, the main component in the new four-party opposition alliance, said the results should serve as a lesson to Barisan Nasional.

"As long as the BN continues with its wrongdoings and does not repent, this wind of change will blow to other states as well," PAS president Fadzil Noor was quoted as saying.

The wife of Mr Anwar, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, won her debut political race in her husband's former constituency in the northern state of Penang, but her Parti Keadilan Nasional took only five seats, trailing far behind opposition partner PAS.

It showed that the people dared to choose change
Wan Azizah
Wan Azizah described her win as "a victory of the people".

The snap poll, allowing just nine days of campaigning, was called after 14 months of political turmoil which saw Mr Anwar convicted of corruption and facing further charges of illegal sexual activities.

It is widely regarded as a referendum on Dr Mahathir's 18 years in power and is the first nationwide test of his government's popularity since Mr Anwar's dismissal.

The BBC's Simon Ingram in Kuala Lumpur says the result leaves Dr Mahathir with a weakened power base in UMNO and an increased reliance on the support of non-Malay elements in his ruling coalition.

wan azizah Wan Azizah: Secured her first seat
Many Chinese were clearly swayed by the coalition's warning that a vote for the opposition would be a vote for an Iranian-style Islamic state, our correspondent says.

The predominantly Chinese Democratic Action Party, which is allied with PAS, lost its veteran leader Lim Kit Siang and his deputy.

Dr Mahathir said: "I think the Chinese appreciate what the government does for them especially in overcoming the financial crisis."

However the prime minister also lost four of his cabinet ministers in the election, including second finance minister Mustapa Mohamad.

But he added: "But we did not lose our top guns ... I won."

Just hours after the ruling coalition secured the two-thirds majority, Malaysia's stock market slid, shedding all of its early gains.

Stockbrokers said the market was waiting for Dr Mahathir to announce his new cabinet.

The new government is expected to be formed later on Tuesday, with the Malaysian king reinstating Dr Mahathir as prime minister in a formal ceremony.

Dr Mahathir will then unveil his new cabinet team.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

See also:
29 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Malaysian elections
30 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Victory's sting-in-the-tail for Mahathir
30 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Malaysia's opposition: Breaking the mould?
29 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Malaysia's poll: Free and fair?
29 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Eyewitness: Malaysia's day of decision
10 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Malaysia's strongman Mahathir
11 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Party guide: Malaysia's opposition alliance

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories