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Date: 29 Nov 1999
Islamic party captures Malaysia's Terengganu state
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 (AFP) - Malaysia's opposition Party Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) overthrew the ruling coalition's state government in northern Terengganu following elections Monday, the state Bernama news agency reported early Tuesday.
PAS, which also looked set to resume control of neighbouring Kelantan state, won a majority of the seats in the Terengganu state legislative assembly, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's National Front.
Chief Minister Wan Mohktar Ahmad, who had been at the helm of the oil-rich state for the last 25 years, said he accepted the decision of the voters.
"Man proposes and God disposes," a dejected Wan Mohktar told state television after the results were announced. "As a democracy, we accept the verdict of the people with an open heart," he said.
"It is up to the PAS government to decide on the future course of development," Wan Mokhtar said.
PAS, a key component of the opposition Alternative Front led by jailed deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim, declared a public holiday as it announced the takeover of the government.
PAS legal advisor Wan Abdul Muttalib Embong said in Terengganu's capital Kuala Terengganu that the party would discharge its duties responsibly based on Islam.
Kelantan has been governed by PAS since 1990 and was the only opposition-controlled state before elections were called.
PAS was making strong gains and expected to regain control of Kelantan.
Zainal Kling, a lecturer in the University of Malaya, said voters in Terengganu rejected the National Front possibly because of the rapid development and tourism promotion in the state.
"There has been major developmental progress in Terengganu over the last 10 years, including tourism promotion in some rural areas, and this might have affected the feelings of the people who may want a slower pace of development," he told state television.