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Malaysian opposition wins another local election

Malaysian opposition wins another local election

Malaysia's opposition alliance won a special legislation election Tuesday, in a blow to the ruling coalition's hopes of regaining support from the country's ethnic Malay Muslim majority.
The Election Commission said the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, defeated Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling party to retain a state legislative seat in northern Penang, securing 65 percent of the more than 14,000 votes cast.
It marked the seventh victory for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's three-party People's Alliance, which includes PAS, out of eight such elections over the past year.
The National Front suffered its worst-ever results in March 2008 general elections as Anwar's alliance won more than one-third of Parliament's seats and wrested control of several key states, including Penang.
Officials from the National Front governing coalition had hoped for a "wind of change" in this election based on its improved performance in the last local election last month in an eastern state, where the opposition won with a sharply reduced majority.
"The wind of change never came. It was a very sweet victory for the opposition. We have done extremely well considering the massive government machinery that we were facing," Hatta Ramli, a senior PAS official, told The Associated Press.
PAS secured 65 percent of total votes cast, almost similar to the 66 percent it had in last year's polls, he said.
About 72 percent of the voters in Permatang Pasir, a state district in Anwar's parliamentary constituency, are Malays. The election came after the PAS incumbent died of a heart attack.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the National Front would work harder to regain public support.
Government leaders have accused Anwar in recent months of being a traitor to Malays, saying he has let his ethnic Chinese and Indian minority allies dictate policies that undermine Malay economic and religious rights.


Updated : 2021-05-11 08:47 GMT+08:00