Najib Razak arrives at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur for his first press conference since BN’s defeat yesterday.  – Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak today pledged to respect the people’s verdict, in his first public appearance since the shock defeat of Barisan Nasional in yesterday’s polls.

“I accept the verdict of the people, and Barisan Nasional is committed to respect the principles of parliamentary democracy,” said Najib, adding that the decision to appoint the next prime minister now rests with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.

Urging Malaysians to remain calm, he said they should have trust in the wisdom of the Agong to appoint the next prime minister, adding that no single party has a simple majority to form the government.

“It will be based on who commands majority support from the majority of members of Parliament,” said Najib.

As the final results came in yesterday, the four-party Pakatan Harapan alliance headed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad won 113 federal seats, against BN’s 79. A simple majority of 112 is needed to form the government.

A planned ceremony to swear in Mahathir as the seventh prime minister at the National Palace did not materialise today. No reason was given.

Meanwhile, Najib today attacked his political enemies for what he said was a campaign of lies and distortion.

He also denied planning to declare emergency rule by invoking the National Security Council Act.

“This is a lie, there was no call for a National Security Council meeting,” he said.

In his short statement, Najib thanked BN leaders and party workers for their hardwork during the 11-day campaign period.

He said his administration had worked hard to improve the lives of Malaysians and create a better environment for the next generation.

“People have benefitted from the policies of BN. But clearly, what we have done is less attractive than what was offered by our rivals. The people now wait for their promises to be fulfilled,” he said.

He urged supporters to be committed to serving the people despite the defeat.

“We have won 79 seats. This is a mandate we should take seriously, so that the people will in future give better support to Barisan Nasional.”

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