Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najeeb Razak and his ruling coalition face their toughest general election on Wednesday with an unprecedented challenge from his former mentor turned opposition leader Mahathir Mohammad.
Najeeb is under pressure to deliver a convincing victory for his undefeated Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, as he grapples with financial scandals and public anger over rising prices.
Najeeb’s coalition is still expected to win the election, but a significant loss of seats to the opposition could leave the prime minister open to a leadership challenge within his United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) party.
Campaign and polling
The polling date and campaign period are decided by the Election Commission (EC). The 11-day campaign began on April 28. Polls open on May 9 at 8am local time — 4am in the UAE — and close at 5pm local time — 1pm in the UAE.
There are nearly 15 million registered voters. Full results are expected to be announced by midnight the next day, EC officials said.
Malaysia adopted a Westminster parliamentary model after gaining independence from Britain in 1957. The government is elected through a first-past-the-post, or simple majority, system.
Undefeated for decades
The UMNO-led coalition has been undefeated since independence. The coalition contains parties representing the country’s three main ethnic groups: majority Malays, most of whom are Muslim, ethnic Chinese and ethnic Indians.
— Compiled from agencies