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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 04:11 GMT
Malaysian prime minister sworn in
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Prime Minister Abdullah says he is not under pressure to resign
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been sworn in, two days after his coalition suffered its worst election result in five decades.

Mr Abdullah took the oath of office at the national palace in Kuala Lumpur.

The prime minister has faced calls for his resignation in the wake of Saturday's polls.

The ruling National Front won more than half of all seats in parliament, but it still suffered unprecedented losses and lost its two-thirds majority.

The government had expected a drop in support amid growing concern over ethnic tensions in multi-cultural Malaysia and unease over rising food prices.

But the result was worse than anticipated, with the opposition making sizeable gains. Many voters from Indian and Chinese minorities - who make up more than a third of the population - failed to turn out for the coalition.

On Monday, Malaysian shares fell to a seven-month low amid concern over the political uncertainty.

Race relations

Mr Abdullah was sworn in for a second five-year term in by Malaysia's king in a televised ceremony.

"I pledge to carry out my duties honestly and with all my abilities," he said.

On Sunday, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad called on the man he handpicked to succeed him to step down.

"I think he should accept responsibility for this. He should accept 100% responsibility," he said.

But Mr Abdullah appeared to rule out resignation.

"I will not step down from any post because I feel no pressure," he told journalists on Sunday.

His coalition controls 139 of the 222 seats in parliament. But the opposition won more than 80 seats, up from 19 in the previous parliament.

The opposition also increased its control of states from one to five, with wins in Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Penang, as well as in Kelantan.

Analysts have partly attributed the result to fears over worsening relations between Malaysia's different ethnic groups.

Late last year, 10,000 Malaysian Indians turned out in Kuala Lumpur to protest against policies favouring ethnic Malay Muslims.



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Malaysian PM's inauguration ceremony



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