Prime Minister Najib Razak was sworn in for a second term by Malaysia's king yesterday, as opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim called for a rally tomorrow to protest at a victory he said was achieved via the "worst electoral fraud in our history".
Najib's National Front coalition, which has ruled since independence in 1957, held off a spirited opposition challenge to retain a parliamentary majority.
It won 133 seats in the 222-member Parliament, two fewer than before. The opposition alliance won 89 seats. The ruling bloc won just 46.6 per cent of the popular vote compared to just over 50 per cent for the opposition. Critics said the figure proved the electoral system was skewed in the government's favour.
Najib acknowledged that the election - which showed Chinese voters had continued a trend of deserting the National Front - had laid bare racial divisions in the majority Malay nation. "Overall, the results show a trend of polarisation which worries the government. If it is not addressed it can create tension or division in the country," he said.
Outraged voters took to the internet in droves to complain that indelible ink that Najib touted as a guarantee against multiple voting easily washed off.
An online security firm, F-Secure, said sophisticated spyware was found in e-mails that claimed to contain a list of election candidates sent out days before the Sunday poll. The firm said the creator of the spyware developer, Gamma Group, had close links to Asian governments and law-enforcement bodies.
"The spyware would be useful [for the senders] in getting to know the next step of opposition parties," said Goh Su Gim, security adviser for Asia for F-Secure.
At the University of Hong Kong, 30 Malaysian students held a protest at the Democracy Wall against "dirty politics" and rigged election results.
Additional reporting by Stuart Lau, Joanna Chu