Malaysia Elections: Mahathir loses fight for Langkawi seat

Former Malaysia prime minister and Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) coalition candidate Mahathir Mohamad has failed to defend his Langkawi seat, official election results announced on Sunday (Nov 20) showed.

The 97-year-old was defeated by Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah, who clinched 13,518 out of 25,463 votes.

Election Commission data showed that Dr Mahathir secured 4,566 votes and has lost his deposit. He finished fourth in a five-cornered fight.

This is Dr Mahathir’s first electoral defeat in 53 years.

In the last general election, Dr Mahathir won the Langkawi seat on the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) ticket by defeating Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datuk Nawawi Ahmad and Zubir Ahmad of PAS with an 8,893-vote majority.

Launched in August, the GTA coalition comprises four political parties - the National Indian Muslim Alliance Party (Iman), Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra), Parti Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Berjasa) and Pejuang, the party led by Dr Mahathir. It also includes NGOs, academicians and individuals.

Dr Mahathir held the world record for the oldest prime minister.

He is also Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, having held the post for 22 years until 2003. He returned as premier after leading Pakatan Harapan (PH) to a historic win in 2018, defeating UMNO which he once led. The PH government collapsed in 2020 due to infighting.

During his political career, he was also acting education minister in 2020 and had two stints as Malaysia's finance minister.

Last month, he reportedly said that he was open to becoming prime minister for the third time if there were strong calls for him to do so.

"Maybe part of it was the voters thinking he really should just rest and perhaps it was a sympathy vote for him to retire," said political observer Serina Abdul Rahman from the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute of Dr Mahathir's loss in Langkawi.

Francis Hutchinson, also from the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, said that the loss signified the end of an era.

Dr Mahathir is among the big names to suffer defeats in Malaysia’s 15th general election.

Among them are Barisan Nasional and UMNO veterans Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in Gua Musang, UMNO vice-president Mahdzir Khalid in Padang Terap and finance minister Tengku Zafrul in Kuala Selangor.