Dr Mahathir Mohamad sworn in as Malaysia prime minister

Dr Mahathir Mohamad sworn in as Malaysia prime minister

Mahathir Mohamad swearing in national palace
This handout photograph taken and released on May 10, 2018 by the National Palace shows Mahathir Mohamad (C) taking an oath as he is sworn in as Malaysia's new prime minister at the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo: AFP/Malaysia National Palace) 

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad was officially sworn in at Istana Negara as Malaysia's prime minister on Thursday (May 10) following a hotly contested general election.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition celebrated a shock victory early Thursday morning when it met the minimum threshold of 112 seats needed to form Malaysia's new government, according to figures from the Election Commission. PH won 113 seats, while Barisan Nasional (BN) took 79.

The 92-year-old former prime minister, who previously ruled the country with an iron fist for 22 years, came out of retirement to take on Najib Razak who became embroiled in a massive corruption scandal.

Mahathir Mohamad infographic

Earlier, supporters lined the road outside the Istana Negara or national palace of Malaysia as he and leaders of PH arrived.

Dr Mahathir's swearing-in also comes after a series of delays and uncertainty, with a palace source stating earlier that he will not be sworn in on Thursday. 

Dr Mahathir said that there was an "urgency" to form a new government. 

"We need to form the government now. Najib’s rule as an interim government is over," Mahathir told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, flanked by PH leaders Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Lim Guan Eng.

He added: “Any delay means we will have no government. No government, no law. There is urgency here."

The national palace later refuted allegations that the King, Sultan Muhammad V, had delayed Mahathir's appointment as the new prime minister.

Earlier on Thursday, Najib said he accepted the election result.

“I accept the verdict of the people," he said in his concession speech at the headquarters of BN.

Source: AFP/CNA/aa