Malaysia’s Post-Election Rally

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May 17 – Last week during the national elections in Malaysia, the National Front Coalition (NFC), the party that has governed Malaysia for 56 consecutive years, won a majority of the country’s parliamentary seats to officially extend its reign. The NFC first obtained majority after Malaysia declared independence from Britain in 1957, and has won 13 consecutive elections since.

Voter turnout was reported to be a record setting 10 million votes cast, which amounts to about 80 percent of the 13 million registered voters in the country.

The Election Commission reported that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s National Front Coalition captured 133 of Malaysia’s 222 parliamentary seats (down from their previous 135) to win a majority, while opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s three-party alliance seized the remaining 89 seats.

“It’s been a long and hard-fought election. This election was true, fair and transparent. I hope the opposition accepts the result with an open heart,” said incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Mr Najib campaigned on the platform of “stay[ing] the course”, noting that the government had already overseen strong economic growth and maintained Malaysia as a stable and emerging country. A major campaign promise of Mr Najib’s was to push through a US$444 billion economic program to bring Malaysia up to par with Singapore by 2020.

However, Razak’s opponents are questioning the victory, and have urged Malaysia’s election officials to investigate. Anwar went as far as saying that “irregularities”, such as suspiciously low support from military and police voters, cost his alliance numerous seats with narrow margins, and that his Pakatan Rakyat Coalition would not accept the results until their complaints and accusations are answered.

“It is unfair to expect us to form a decision based primarily on the results of an election that is considered fraudulent,” he added.

In related news, Malaysia’s financial markets reached historic heights the day after the election, with the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index soaring to an all-time high. The stock index crossed the 1,720 mark for the first time ever, even reaching 1,826 at one point, as investors saw the result as a confirmation of political stability and policy continuity.

Malaysia’s ringgit also rallied as a result, gaining 1.8 percent to reach 2.9793 per dollar before settling at 2.9625 per dollar. This was the largest advance since June 2010, and the strongest level since September 2011.