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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak should resign after returning to office with a reduced majority following this weekend’s election, a Crawford School expert says.
The leader of Malaysia’s long-governing Barisan Nasional party captured 133 of Malaysia’s 222 parliamentary seats to win a majority on Sunday – significantly fewer than the 148 it needed for a two-thirds legislative majority it held for years, but lost in 2008.
Given there was an expectation on Najib to return his party with a two-thirds majority, there is a possibility he will be removed by the party, according to Greg Lopez, a Malaysia analyst from the Crawford School of Public Policy.
“He has never had any legitimacy, because he took over from (predecessor) Adbullah Ahmad Badawi,” Lopez said.
“He has used his personal popularity to lead Barisan Nasional, so the strategy that he has taken was presidential style.
“And if this reduced majority is any indication it means that Malaysians have not welcomed him, because the expectation was that he would deliver a two-third majority.
“Since he has failed…the honourable thing for him is to resign.”
Najib blamed Chinese Malays for the disappointing result.
“We didn’t get much support from the Chinese for our development plans,” the Prime Minister told reporters.
He went as far to say that the election had been hit by a “Chinese tsunami”, adding he was afraid that if this continued, it would create tensions.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim claimed the election was fraught with “irregularities” that had cost his Pakatan Rakyat party numerous seats with narrow margins.
He refuses to accept Sunday’s result, unless the Election Commission deals with widespread complaints of voter fraud, but that is unlikely given the election commission is a unit of the Prime Minister’s office.
Lopez called for all grievances and allegations to be investigated.
“This is very important, not only for the opposition, not only for the ruling government, but for Malaysians,” he said.
It was in the interest of both parties to re-examine their own strategies, to determine why Chinese voters, along with a large percentage of Malaysians, had chosen the opposition “as their preferred political coalition” said Lopez.
“This is really a referendum about what type of Malay leadership Malaysia wants.
“And it is obvious that Malaysia wants a more inclusive Malay leadership,” said Lopez.