Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, even after losing a majority of the popular vote in May 5 elections, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in a Bloomberg interview.
think the party will support him because of a lack of an alternative,"
Mahathir, 87, said at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo
Barisan extended its 55-year rule, winning 133
seats in the 222-member parliament as support for ethnic-Chinese
component parties in the ruling alliance dwindled.
Ethnic Chinese parties in the government won nine seats compared with 23 in the 2008 election.
attributed the coalition's loss in Selangor state assembly vote, where
the opposition took 17 of 22 seats, to a "Chinese tsunami" against the
Chinese make up about a quarter of Malaysia's 29
million people, while about 60 percent are Malays and indigenous groups
together known as Bumiputera, or "sons of the soil," who get
preferential treatment in areas like business and education through
The opposition rejected Najib's analysis of
the poll outcome in racial terms, a sensitive topic in a country where
hundreds were killed in Sino-Malay riots in 1969 after an election.
Dr Mahathir said the results of the election showed that Malaysia has become more divided than unified.
"We are still striving to bring the races together," he said, calling unity an "uphill task."
"Because of this racial polarization, Najib couldn't get Chinese votes, he said.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a former finance minister under
Barisan Nasional, has protested the result, holding a series of rallies
around the country to allege electoral fraud.
He has pledged to contest the results in as many as 30 seats, enough to swing the overall result.
Institute for Democracy and Economic affairs, an official election
observer, described the poll as "only partially free and not fair" in a
May 8 report.
Candidates have 21 days from May 23 to file protests.
Election Commission Chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said May 5 he was "satisfied" with the voting process.
The margin of victory was even narrower than the 2008 election, after which Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stood down as prime minister to take responsibility.
who took over mid-term four years ago, could face a leadership
challenge when his party, Umno, holds its annual assembly later this
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is potentially next in line.