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Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad set to become world’s oldest leader

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Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad set to become world’s oldest leader

The world’s oldest leader is set to take office after a shock victory in Malaysia’s election, as the country’s former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad upended six decades of control by the ruling coalition.

In his triumphant return to front line Malaysian politics, Prime Minister-elect Mahathir pledged to quickly form a new government and reinstate the rule of law, following a momentous night which saw scandal-plagued Najib Razak soundly beaten at the polls by his former mentor.
Mahathir, who will become the world’s oldest leader at 92-years-old, set a challenge to Malaysia’s constitutional ruler, King Muhammad V, who needs to rubber-stamp his appointment, to install him as the new leader by 5 p.m. (5 a.m. ET).
“We hope that by 5 o’clock today, we will have a prime minister,” he said at a press conference to mark his electoral victory. State media Bernama, however, reported that a source had said that no information regarding the timing had been made available, but that Mahathir would “definitely not” be sworn in Thursday.
The apparent delay came as the Sultan of Johor, the sovereign ruler of the Malaysian state, urged the King to confirm Mahathir officially.

Ousted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib had earlier conceded defeat.
Acknowledging the electoral bloodbath that saw his ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition lose over 50 seats, Najib said that he accepts the “will of the people,” but also trumpeted the achievements of his government.
Despite the thrashing at the polls, Najib’s speech appeared to tease the possibility that the identity of the country’s next leader was not a foregone conclusion.
“Because no party got a simple majority, the King will decide whom to appoint as Prime Minister … Barisan Nasional will accept the King’s decision, and I urge all Malaysians to accept the decision calmly and place their faith in the King to make a wise decision.”

In his first press conference since his stunning win over BN, Mahathir said that he would move quickly to end an unpopular sales tax, and said that among his first acts would be to arrange for a pardon for his political ally — and one-time political nemesis — Anwar Ibrahim, to allow him to re-enter politics.
Anwar remains imprisoned after being found guilty of sodomy in 2015 — the second time he’s been found imprisoned for the offense. He has long said that the charges are politically motivated.
He’s expected to be released in June, after serving the bulk of the sentence. Mahathir has previously pledged to seek a royal pardon, which would pave the way for him succeeding the elderly Mahathir in just a couple of years.
Asked about his other promise made during the campaign to pursue a corruption investigation into Najib, he maintained the former leader would be subject to the rule of law.
“If the law says Najib has done something wrong, then he will have to face the consequences,” he said.
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