Mahathir’s party likely to get most votes in poll

KUALA LUMPUR: Polling stations closed in Malaysia on Wednesday at the end of a cliffhanger election that pitted Prime Minister Najib Razak’s long-ruling coalition against a resurgent opposition led by 92-year-old former leader Mahathir Mohamad.
Najib’s Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition faced a far greater challenge than ever before in the Southeast Asian Muslim-majority nation, with public anger over rising prices and a multi-billion-dollar scandal that has dogged him since 2015. An election-eve opinion poll suggested that support for BN was slipping and Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) would land the most votes in peninsular Malaysia, home to 80 per cent of the population.
However, under Malaysia’s electoral system, the party or alliance with the majority of seats in the 222-member parliament wins, and most experts believe that is within Najib’s reach. The opposition claimed the contest was skewed by a revision of electoral boundaries and a decision to hold the poll midweek, which it said would discourage millions from voting.
The Election Commission and government dismissed the accusations.
The Election Commission said that 69 per cent of the roughly 15 million registered voters had cast their vote as of 0700 GMT, two hours before polls closed.
Around 85 per cent voted at the last election in 2013. — AFP