Malaysia's scandal-hit prime minister faces ex-mentor, 92, in election

Malaysia's scandal-hit prime minister faces ex-mentor, 92, in election

Malaysia's scandal-hit prime minister faces ex-mentor, 92, in election

But this time, he is running as an opposition leader with the aim of toppling Najib.

Mahathir is 92 and leads an alliance of opposition parties.

Some opposition lawmakers and voters complained on social media of hours-long queues to cast ballots, although it was not clear how widespread the problem was.

Mahathir Mohamad, former Malaysian prime minister and opposition candidate for Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) attends a news conference after general election, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, May 9, 2018.

Mahathir has a reputation as an authoritarian, but is still a huge figure in the country. Results are expected to be unveiled late Wednesday evening.

The center's program director Ibrahim Suffian says turnout may be about 80 percent or in the high 70s after the Election Commission said it was 69 percent as of 3 p.m.

There were many issues faced by voters with the EC in several polling stations in the country, he told reporters in Langkawi, where he is the candidate for the Parliamentary seat.

Election officials were yet to disclose the final turnout, although analysts said it could be lower than at the 2013 election, when it was 85 percent.

In a tweet, Najib condemned the "tactic of spam calls" from global numbers received by his camp's leaders and said web sites of the BN alliance could not be accessed.

Malaysia's electoral boundaries ensure that mostly-Malay rural voters have an outsized say in the result of elections, to the disadvantage of the ethnically Chinese and Indian minorities.

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The scandal surrounding sovereign wealth fund 1MDB has not helped, although in rural areas the complex controversy has generally taken a back seat to economic worries.

A crowd of cameramen and photographers jostled for space as a smiling Mahathir, 92, entered the polling booth and waited for his turn to vote.

Kuala Lumpur: Voters have a stark choice in Malaysia's election today: resurrect the country's 92-year-old former authoritarian leader or give a third term to Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose alleged role in the multibillion-dollar ransacking of a state investment fund has battered Malaysia's standing overseas.

Najib's other formidable opponent is former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is now serving a five-year prison sentence on a sodomy conviction that has been attacked by human rights groups as politically motivated.

The trip allowed Mr. Najib to show voters at home that he could go to the United States without being arrested.

Najib said the campaign was "quite vicious in the content of the personal attacks which doesn't reflect a mature democracy". He said, "It must be based on facts, it must be based on policy, it must be based on who can execute the best plan for the nation and for the people".

Dubbed as the "mother of all elections", this year's campaign will see two seasoned politicians, Razak and Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, a former prime minister, facing off in a battle that could change the course of Malaysia's future.

Despite the anger, however, Najib is still expected to win due to what the opposition claims is poll-rigging, and a system that requires only a simple majority of MPs in parliament to maintain power.

Malays, who make up some 60 per cent of the country's 32 million people, have long formed the bedrock of support for the BN coalition, and winning over the group is key to victory in the election.

Morning newspaper headlines focused on Najib's election eve promises of tax exemptions for young people, extra public holidays and a five-day break from road tolls if his coalition wins.

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