Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Sunday denied rumour that he would resign after his ruling coalition suffered an unexpected setback in the general election. ( dpa )
The National Front coalition managed to secure a simple majority to form the government, but was denied a two-thirds' majority in parliament.
The opposition also wrested control of the northern states of Penang, Kedah and Perak as well as the central Selangor state. The opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia also strengthened its hold on the north-eastern Kelantan state, which it has dominated since 1990.
The prime minister's coalition suffered embarassing losses in many of its state and parliamentary seats, signalling increasing voter disenchantment towards the government.
Following the announcement of the results, he said the government would accept the outcome as the choice of the people and a clear sign that democracy was in place.
But a somber Abdullah denied talk of his resignation following the coalition's worse-ever election performance.
"I don't know who is being pressured (to step down), I'm not resigning," he said.
More than 70 per cent of 10.92 million registered voters cast their votes in Saturday's polls.
Saturday's election results reflected growing dissatisfaction over price rises, religious disputes and concerns over corruption.
The last time the coalition failed to secure a two-thirds majority in parliament was in 1969, following which deadly racial riots broke out.
Police warned supporters of the government and opposition not to hold victory parades and threatened detention for unlawful gatherings.