Kuala Lumpur: Winning an electoral victory in the country’s largest state Malaysia's ruling coalition and Prime Minister hoped for a similar show in the upcoming general election.

The ruling coalition won 55 of 71 seats to retain its two-thirds majority in the Sarawak state election, though it saw its hold in the state weakened.

The opposition put up a formidable show, notching up 15 seats in its best performance in several years. It managed to more than double its representation, from seven to 15 seats.

Reacting to the victory that came ahead of an upcoming general election, Prime Minister Najib Razzak asked his party to keep up the winning momentum.

"We need to build on this momentum, what's important is that we maintain support so that it can be translated in the next general elections," Razak said.

Najib said the government's state victory in Sarawak could "become a bridge to the general elections." “We are inspired by this triumph," he said.

The ruling National Front's losses in the state came mainly from areas largely populated by ethnic Chinese, with its main Chinese party in the state losing 13 of the 19 seats it contested.

The opposition failed to win substantial number of seats but a senior official Karpal Singh said the gains made by his party would deter the Prime Minister from calling for national elections for at least a few more months.

Agencies