Malaysian regime retains its 56-year hold on power

Malaysia's ruling coalition retained its 56-year hold on power, the country's Election Commission said early Monday, but a bitter opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim refused to concede defeat.

The commission said the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition led by Najib Razak secured 112 parliamentary seats, the threshold required to form a government in the 222-seat chamber.

The announcement came eight hours after polls closed in Sunday's election, Malaysia's most fiercely fought ever, in which Anwar's three-part alliance had hoped to pull off a stunning win against the only government Malaysia has known.

"Candidates representing Barisan Nasional have won 112 seats," commission chair Aziz Yusof told a press conference.

Malaysians voted in record numbers in the general election but the hotly anticipated day was dogged by accusations of electoral irregularities.

Informed of Barisan's win, Anwar said he would not accept the result.

"It is an election that we consider fraudulent and the EC has failed," he told reporters.

Voters had taken to the Internet in droves to accuse Prime Minister Najib Razak's government of trying to steal the election, as indelible ink that he touted as a guarantee against voter fraud was found to easily wash off.

The opposition also leveled a number of other accusations at the Election Commission -- which it accuses of being the back pocket of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who heads Barisan.