World

Mahathir, 92, sworn in as Malaysia's seventh prime minister

11 May 2018 - 52   - 0

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Mahathir Mohamad was sworn in as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister on Thursday after a stunning election comeback, defeating the coalition that has ruled the nation for six decades since independence from Britain.

Malaysia’s constitutional monarch, Sultan Muhammad V, administered the oath of office just before 10 p.m. (1400 GMT), in a ceremony carried live on state television from the palace.

Mahathir, 92, dubbed the “Father of Modern Malaysia” during his previous 22 years in power until 2003, was dressed in a traditional black “baju melayu” tunic and sarong, with an Islamic cap on his head. His return from retirement makes him the oldest elected leader in the world.

Hundreds of Malaysians lined the road leading to the palace, waving party flags and cheering. The Election Commission announced the result long before dawn and there was some consternation in the capital Kuala Lumpur over the time taken to swear in the new prime minister.

At a press conference after being sworn in, Mahathir reassured the financial community and said he would prioritize stabilizing the economy and return billions of dollars lost in a graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

“We believe that we can get most of the 1MDB money back ... we have to increase the confidence of investors in the administration,” he told reporters.

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