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Anwar says 'shattered' Najib called him twice on election night

Malaysian ex-PM Najib Razak refused to concede election early, says jailed rival

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's ousted former premier Najib Razak was "totally shattered" the night he lost the general election and called his jailed rival Anwar Ibrahim twice for advice on what he should do, Mr Anwar said on Thursday.

Mr Najib was handed a shocking election loss last week that ended the dominance of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has ruled Malaysia for more than six decades.

BN's defeat in the May 9 polls was attributed to anger over corruption and an unlikely alliance struck between 92-year-old Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his former rival, Mr Anwar, who got together to oust the scandal-tainted Mr Najib.

Mr Anwar, who was pardoned and released from his five-year jail term for sodomy on Wednesday, said he received two calls from Mr Najib.

"When he called on the night of the election, I advised him as a friend to concede and move on," Mr Anwar told Reuters in an interview at his home on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Anwar said he asked Mr Najib to come out with a statement quickly rather than delay and be perceived as trying to scuttle the process.

Mr Najib, however, said nothing despite Dr Mahathir declaring victory a few hours after the counting of the votes began.

At a news conference the next day, Mr Najib said no party had a simple majority and the constitutional monarch would decide who would form the government.

"He was just very evasive... he refused to concede early,"Mr Anwar said about his discussion on election night.

Mr Anwar insisted the former-PM did not approach him for a deal in any "serious manner".

When he called on the night of the election, I advised him as a friend to concede and move on. Reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim on ex-PM Najib Razak's call

"Even if he had referred to that (a deal), I would have just ignored ... I was just listening to him," Mr Anwar said when asked if Mr Najib had offered him a deal to shift allegiance.

"After the second call, he was totally shattered," he said.

Mr Najib could not immediately be reached for comment.

In an interview with AFP a day after he walked free, Mr Anwar also said he would be back in Parliament soon.

"Give me a few months, I should be back as an MP. It is the correct thing to do," he said.

Mr Anwar, 70, predicted that Mr Najib would likely end up in prison but declined to say how he thought Mr Najib's case would play out, as it depended on "how he can defend himself in court".

"He will certainly be charged," he said.

Mr Najib has denied any wrongdoing. - REUTERS, AFP

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