WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has congratulated Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia on his electoral victory, with the White House saying America is looking forward to working closely with it to address common international and regional challenges.
Mahathir's alliance crushed the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in a shocking defeat, toppling the corruption-riddled regime's six-decade stranglehold on power.
The 92-year-old Mahathir -- who had retired in 2003 as premier but made a comeback in a bid to oust the coalition he once headed -- was sworn yesterday, becoming the world's oldest elected leader.
"President Donald J Trump congratulates Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on his having been sworn in today as the new Prime Minister of Malaysia.
The President also congratulates all Malaysians on their participation in a competitive and peaceful election campaign," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement yesterday.
She said the United StatesMalaysia relationship is rooted in longstanding and strong people-to-people ties, shared democratic values and commercial relations.
Sanders said the US looks forward to continuing to work closely with Malaysia to further strengthen the partnership between the two countries and to address common international and regional challenges.
Earlier State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert congratulated the people of Malaysia on their participation in a "hard-fought" election campaign.
"Malaysians from all parties, states and backgrounds engaged the electoral process in large numbers peacefully and with great enthusiasm," she said.
America's Wall Street Journal said the return of Mahathir spells "historic shift" in the country's relationship with China and promises a "beefed up anti-corruption probe".