Malaysia will hold a general election next month with the country’s scandal-plagued Prime Minister Najib Razak facing a tough race.
Najib will try to fend off old foe and former leader Mahathir Mohamad.
Parties will kick-off their election campaigns on 28 April, allowing a 15 day campaign period — three days less than the country’s last election campaign period in 2013.
Voting will take place on 9 May, a Wednesday, which some have suggested could lead to lower voter turnout, helping Najib.
Yin Shao Loong, an aide to opposition figure Mohamed Azmin Ali of the People’s Justice Party, raised concerns via twitter about people’s ability to turn up to the vote.
Malaysia's General Election dates have been announced by the Election Commission:28 April – Nomination Day5 May – Early voting9 May – Voting DayCampaign period – 12 days
Wednesday voting day makes it very clear that Najib wants a very low voter turnout, beneficial to him
— Yin Shao Loong 🦠-19 is airborne (@yinshaoloong) April 10, 2018
The 64-year-old Najib is expected to retain the ruling coalition’s 61-year grip on power, despite growing discontent towards his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
The administration has presided over spiralling costs and a multi-billion dollar scandal connected to a government fund started by the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, Mahathir will hope to loosen the ruling coalition’s majority, though he can not officially announce his candidacy until 5 May.
Mahathir’s Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia party was dissolved by the government last week for failing to provide the necessary paperwork for voter registration.
Najib ended months of speculation over the election date last week when he dissolved the Parliament in the run-up to the vote.
In 2015 Najib faced intense pressure to resign due to allegations of corruption linked to a debt-laden state fund he started, which made deposits into his private accounts of around $680 million.
A former ally of Najib, Mahathir is now his fiercest critic. In 2016 the leader resigned from the ruling coalition the United Malays National Organisation saying it no longer represented the politics he believed in.
During his 22 year rule that ended in 2003, Mahathir industrialised Malaysia, transforming it from a rural outpost.