Malaysia's Mahathir urges PM to quit after polls

Sun Mar 9, 2008

THE MINES, Malaysia (Reuters) - Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad urged his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, to quit the leadership on Sunday after the worst-ever electoral performance by the ruling coalition.

"I think he should accept responsibility for this, just as in 2004, the huge majority, the huge victory, was reportedly due to him 100 percent," Mahathir told reporters at his home outside the capital. "Now also he should accept 100 percent responsibility."

Malaysians awoke on Sunday to the biggest sea-change in politics in almost 40 years, with opposition Islamists and reformists winning control of five states and giving the government a humiliating wake-up call.

Abdullah's multi-racial National Front coalition won just a simple majority in parliament, and his future as leader is in doubt after he watched a record parliamentary majority from the last election in 2004 collapse to the weakest level ever.