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Malaysia goes to poll

  • On May 5, Malaysia goes to poll in what is widely acknowledged to be the closest election since the country’s independence.

    About 25% of the country’s 13 million electorate is expected to vote and determine the outcome of 13th parliamentary election of Malaysia.

    Incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak led Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition goes up against the Pakatan Rakyat (People's Coalition), an alliance formed by the People's Justice Party (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), and Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), and headed by Anwar Ibrahim.

    Ethnic groups play a very important role in Malaysian politics. Of its 28 million population, 50% are of Malay origin, about 25% are of Chinese descent, about 11% are from other indigenous groups, and almost 7% are of Indian descent.

    The Barisan Nasional has spent millions of Ringgits in the weeks preceding the elections handing out cash bonuses, pensions, and handouts to ethnic groups.

    The ruling coalition has, however, been accused of much corruption and moral degeneration. According to an opinion poll by the University of Malaya the Barisan Nasional has 42% support, Pakatan Rakyat has 37%, and 21% remain undecided.