(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad lost his seat in Parliament for the first time since 1969.
Mahathir Mohamad lost his seat in Parliament after residents of Langkawi on Saturday voted to put Perikatan Nasional (PN) in control of the island constituency.
It is the 97-year-old’s first defeat in Malaysia’s parliamentary elections since he lost in 1969.
The Langkawi seat was won by Datuk Suhaimi Abdullah from PN, with 25,463 votes, or 38.1 per cent of the vote share, on Saturday.
Tun Dr Mahathir managed to garner only 4,566 votes, or 6.8 per cent – less than the 12.5 per cent vote threshold required to keep his deposit as a candidate.
Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Armishah Siraj came in second with 11,945 votes, or 17.9 per cent of valid votes. Datuk Armishah is a member of the Kampung Kuah Umno branch in Langkawi and is familiar with issues on the ground.
In comparison, Dr Mahathir won 54.9 per cent of the 34,527 valid votes in the 2018 General Election, beating BN’s 29.1 per cent.
Dr Mahathir’s loss comes despite widespread appreciation for his contributions in Langkawi.
He is widely respected for bringing prosperity and development to the island by declaring it a tax-free haven in 1987, when he was Malaysia’s premier. The move drew a slew of tourism investments, including an international airport, ferry services and luxury hotels.
This loss deals a final blow to Dr Mahathir’s Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang), which contested a total of 121 parliamentary seats, 13 of which were in Kedah.
Kedah, which includes Langkawi, is also Dr Mahathir’s home state.
Voters were unconvinced by Dr Mahathir’s promise of repairing the country’s economy and bringing back foreign investments and jobs by eradicating corruption within the government and cleaning up some RM42 billion (S$12.7 billion) in national debt racked up by former prime minister Najib Razak.
There were also voters who had grown disenchanted with Dr Mahathir’s leadership after he resigned as prime minister in 2020 and failed to hand over the reins of government to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as promised. (Courtesy The Straits Times)