Malaysian prime minister sworn in for second term

March 10th, 2008 - 2:13 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, March 10 (DPA) Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was sworn in Monday for his second term in office after his ruling coalition secured a slim majority but suffered major losses in last weekend’s elections. Abdullah, 68, took the oath of office in a simple, closed-door ceremony before King Mizan Zainal Abidin at the royal palace.

Abdullah’s ruling National Front coalition retained control of the government in Saturday’s general election, but was denied a two-thirds majority of parliamentary seats.

The only other time the opposition had managed to deny the government a large majority was in 1969.

The coalition suffered one of its biggest defeats in history after the opposition managed to win control of four major states - the central Selangor state and the northern states of Penang, Perak and Kedah.

Abdullah also failed once again to win back the north-eastern state of Kelantan from the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), which has ruled there since 1990.

Several senior ministers in Abdullah’s cabinet were also defeated in the polls by opposition candidates, many of whom were contesting for the first time.

Dubbed the “opposition tsunami” by politicians and local media, the opposition’s wins signal increasing disenchantment of voters towards the government and Abdullah’s leadership, which many say is weak.

Abdullah has denied he is under pressure to resign, saying he still had the support of leaders within his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party, which is the backbone of the coalition.

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