Malaysian opposition triumphs over government giants

 

Malaysia's opposition has claimed several high-profile scalps in Saturday's general elections, including the sole ethnic Indian minister who lost his seat, according to official data.


The daughter of opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim, 28-year-old Nurul Izzah Anwar, thrashed powerful incumbent Women, Family and Community Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil in her first ever tilt at parliament.


Manoharan Malayalam, an ethnic Indian activist who is being detained without trial after organising anti-discrimination protests, was elected from his jail cell - beating the government incumbent in a state seat.


Manoharan, who represents the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party (DAP), won twice as many votes as the ethnic Chinese candidate, in a seat dominated by ethnic Chinese voters.


Indian cabinet minister S. Samy Vellu lost his seat in central Perak state which he has held since 1974, state Bernama news agency reported.


Samy Vellu, a loyal supporter of the Malay-led government, has borne the brunt of anger from Malaysia's ethnic Indian minority who say they have suffered decades of discrimination.


The DAP has claimed victory in the island state of Penang, ousting the government for the first time since 1969 in a stunning outcome.


Unofficial results showed the opposition is close to claiming the northern state of Kedah with the Islamic hardliners PAS and former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim's party Keadilan securing 22 of the 36 state seats, Bernama reported.


The opposition is also in the lead in central Selangor state, traditionally a BN stronghold, it said.


The Election Commission's official tally showed Barisan Nasional ahead in the new 222-seat parliament, with 45 parliamentary seats in the bag, including eight that were uncontested.


The DAP has claimed six parliamentary seats, PAS currently has three and Keadilan has three. (AFP)


 

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