Mahathir Mohamad, who pulled off a stunning general election win, will not be sworn in as the new prime minister of Malaysia on Thursday, a spokesman for the King’s palace said, but gave no reason for the change in schedule.
Mahathir had said shortly after declaring victory that the King would sign his letter of appointment as prime minister of Malaysia’s constitutional monarchy during a ceremony at the royal palace in the capital, Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
But palace authorities said there would be no such event and a spokesman for Mahathir, the 92-yer-old veteran former prime minister, said he had not heard from the palace and had no plan to go there.
Mahathir’s opposition alliance won the simple majority it required to form a new government in Wednesday’s polls, a stunning result that will end six decades of rule by a coalition he once led.
Malaysians celebrated Mahathir’s unexpected victory over Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose popularity had plunged over rising living costs and in the wake of a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal at Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Mahathir led the Southeast Asian nation for 22 years and his unexpected return to the prime ministership ends the previously unbroken rule of Barisan Nasional (BN), the coalition that had governed Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957.
“We are not seeking revenge … what we want is to restore the rule of law,” Mahathir said of Najib’s scandal-plagued rule. Mahathir appeared jubilant and sprightly at a news conference claiming victory overnight.
Najib began an address to media in the late morning. A member of his cabinet said they would accept the will of the people. The stunning election outcome was expected to ruffle financial markets that were expecting a comfortable win for Najib and the BN.
Malaysia’s currency weakened in offshore trading on Thursday, with the ringgit one-month non-deliverable forward falling 1.7 pct. The U.S.-traded iShares MSCI Malaysia ETF fell 6 percent.
The national stock market was closed on Thursday and Friday after Mahathir declared a public holiday, but the ringgit currency weakened in offshore trading.