Malaysia's Najib quits as head of coalition, party after poll loss

Malaysia's Najib quits as head of coalition, party after poll loss

The election result is a political quake for the Muslim-majority country, sweeping aside the 60-year rule of the National Front and its leader Najib Razak, whose reputation was tarnished by a monumental corruption scandal, a crackdown on dissent and the imposition of an unpopular sales tax that hurt many of his coalition's poor rural supporters.

Malaysia's Immigration Department announced the travel ban moments after the scandal-plagued Najib said in a Facebook post that he and his family were taking a post-election holiday overseas starting from Saturday and would return next week.

In his earlier statement on social media, Mr Najib said he was committed to "facilitating a smooth transfer of power".

Earlier Malaysia's official news agency Bernama reported that reporters from the local and global media thronged the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah airport near Petaling Jaya on Saturday following a rumour that former PM Naji Razak would be leaving the country. "I respect the direction and will remain with the family in the country", Najib wrote. Najib and 1MDB deny any wrongdoing.

Mahathir had promised, if elected, to free Anwar and eventually hand power over to him.

Najib lost to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in this week's elections. On Thursday, he said that if Najib had done anything wrong he would "face the consequences".

Lim told reporters after his appointment that the government's plan was to review all contracts to ensure that jobs and business opportunities for Malaysians were made secure, as well as to reduce the financial burden on low-income groups.

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As a white van with heavily tinted windows attempted to pass by, the crowd surrounded the vehicle and demanded it be opened so they could see who was inside.

He said his deputy, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, will take over as president of UMNO, a party that dominates the coalition.

Mahathir also announced the first three appointments to his cabinet - Lum Guan Eng as finance minister, Muhyiddin Yassin as interior minister and Mohamad Sabu as defence minister.

The attorney general, Apandi Ali, declined to comment.

Anwar had served as deputy prime minister and finance minister in Mahathir's government and was seen as Mahathir's heir-apparent until he was sacked in 1999.

In the latest dizzying development after last week's shock poll results, Mahathir announced Friday that the king had agreed to pardon jailed leading politician Anwar Ibrahim, his former nemesis turned ally.

But in a remarkable turnaround, the pair reconciled and joined forces as allegations mounted over 1MDB and Najib became increasingly authoritarian.

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