Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional took an early lead in Sundays's in the knife-edge election that saw a record 80 per cent polling, with one of the world's longest-serving governments that has been in power for almost six decades, winning 37 of the 49 seats declared so far.
Malaysians waited with bated breath as polling closed at 5pm (local time) to find out if the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), which has governed uninterrupted for 56 years, will continue or cede power to the popular opposition alliance.
Eighty per cent of the 12.99 million registered voters cast their votes in Malaysia's 13th General Elections held across the country. All 8,245 voting centres were closed at 5 pm (local time), the Election Commission said. BN won 37 of the 49 parliamentary seats declared, state-run Bernama news agency reported.
According to the Election Commission, the BN won 25 seats in Sarawak, three in Johor, three in Pahang, two in Perak, two in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur as well as Putrajaya and Labuan.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) won 10 parliamentary seats, five of them in Sarawak, three in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and one each in Penang and Perak. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) won one parliamentary seat in Sarawak, while PAS won one seat, in Perak.
At least 112 of the 222 parliamentary seats are needed to take over Putrajaya, the administrative capital. The BN had held 135 seats in the 222-member Parliament that was dissolved in April. The opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) led by Anwar Ibrahim has unveiled a 100-day roadmap including waiving all higher education loans, and abolishing highway tolls if voted to power.
The ruling coalition is dominated by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) led by Prime Minister Najib Razak and also includes Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC).
A total of 1,900 candidates, 579 contesting for 222 parliamentary seats and 1,321 contesting for 505 state seats, were in the fray. Incumbent Prime Minister Razak is confident that the BN coalition will remain Malaysia's dominant political force. Opposition leader Ibrahim's three-party alliance is also confident of taking over Putrajaya.