"You've got to learn to survive a defeat. That's when you develop character."
Richard M. Nixon.
KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia's Islamic party, which made big strides in weekend elections, on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resign in the interests of the nation.
Abdullah was sworn in for a second term and won the backing of his ruling coalition on Monday despite the worst electoral setback in its half-century rule over Malaysia.
PAS vice president Husam Musa said Abdullah must take responsibility for the Barisan Nasional coalition's loss of its two-thirds majority and another four states to the three-party opposition alliance.
"We are calling for his resignation not in the interest of PAS or any party. It is in the interest of the nation," he told reporters, adding the prime minister should quit before the country is dragged into a "semi-crisis".
"We want to see a more stable Malaysia. Very weak leadership cannot bring progress to Malaysia," he said.
PAS, the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party, and Keadilan - led by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim - formed a loose alliance to deny Barisan the two-thirds majority it needs to amend the constitution at will.
Musa hailed the unprecedented seizure of four states, which lie along Malaysia's west coast, and include the nation's two wealthiest regions of Selangor and Penang, which is Abdullah's home state.
PAS also extended its majority in northern Kelantan which it has ruled since 1990.
"The whole corridor has collapsed and the prime minister doesn't even have his own political base after losing Penang," Husam said.
"Even the stock market has reacted to this instability," he added, referring to the 9.5 percent slump on the local bourse on Monday.
Abdullah has already resisted calls by his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad to step down, with the veteran politician saying he had made a mistake in selecting him for the top job in 2003.