Kuala Lumpur, Jun 30 (AFP) Ousted Malaysian leader Najib Razak’s party has chosen his former deputy as its new leader, party officials said today, after a shocking May election loss broke its decades-old political reign. Also Read - Smart Finance: Maruti Suzuki Launches Virtual Finance Facility in 30 Cities | All You Need to Know

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, 65, was elected president of the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) after defeating two former ministers. Also Read - India's Vaccine Drive From Tomorrow: Health Ministry Lays Guidelines, Precautions | Check Details Here

Official results saw Ahmad receive 78 nominations from the party’s 191 divisions while Khairy Jamaluddin won 53 and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was handed 28 nominations. Also Read - New York: Indian-Origin Man Kills Daughter, Mother-In-Law In Double Murder-Suicide

Ex-premier Najib’s long-ruling coalition, long dogged by corruption allegations, lost the May 9 elections to a reformist alliance headed by Mahathir Mohamad.

Najib quit as Umno president days later, and now faces an anti-graft probe over allegations that billions of dollars were looted from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

Both Najib and the fund have denied any wrongdoing.

The coveted presidency of Umno once meant a clear path to becoming prime minister.

But Umno, which led the former ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, saw key allies desert after the polls with a number cozying up to Mahathir’s Pact of Hope alliance.

However, it remains the multi-ethnic country’s single largest political party, boasting some three million members and 52 MPs.

Penang Institute political scientist Wong Chin Huat said he did not believe that Ahmad’s win would improve Umno political chances.

“(Ahmad’s) victory signals a reluctant, opportunistic and combative opposition which will not change itself,” he told AFP.

“(It) only hopes to change everything else including voters’ perception.” (AFP) CPS CPS

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.