Opposition to fight 'stolen' Malaysia polls

Anwar Ibrahim said Monday his Malaysian opposition planned to contest the results of a bitter weekend election battle and that the 56-year-old ruling bloc, which retained its grip on power, had "lost its legitimacy".

"I today maintain we won the elections. The Election Commission is complicit in the crime of stealing the election from Malaysians," Anwar told AFP in an interview.

"The government has lost its legitimacy."

Members of Anwar's Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) opposition alliance were left bitter and despondent after a Sunday election that they hoped would end with a historic change of power but left them with only minimal gains.

Pakatan had launched a stiff challenge to the ruling coalition that has governed since independence, but the regime won a firm majority in the 222-member parliament in a vote dogged by reports of irregularities.

"We will look at cases in about 30 to 40 constituencies in question and whether (to file) election petitions or to go to the courts," Anwar said.

It was unclear how much legal recourse was available to the opposition. Critics of the Barisan Nasional (National Front) government say it has a history of leaning on courts and other institutions in cases that threaten the regime.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has denied fraud and rejected any challenge to the polls. He was scheduled to be sworn in by Malaysia's king at 4:00 pm (0800 GMT), his office said.

Pakatan has made major inroads in recent years under Anwar -- a former Barisan star who was ousted and jailed by the regime in a 1998 power struggle -- by capitalising on public fatigue with corruption and authoritarianism.