Malaysians vote in highly-contested election

Dual Thai nationality votes being 'sold' for today's Malaysian election

Mr Mahathir, who was Malaysia's authoritarian leader for 22 years until 2003, repeated the themes of a campaign that asserted a vote for the opposition would save Malaysia from a corrupt elite.

Lim Kit Siang - a leader of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), a key party in the opposition alliance - said the ruling coalition´s "dirty tricks are at work today with mobile telephones of key DAP leaders throughout the country sabotaged and disabled by endless incoming calls from the United States".

Najib, who is leading the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) to seek a third term, was speaking from Pekan in the eastern Pahang state, where he has held the parliamentary seat since 1976, while Mahathir was making the speech in Langkawi, a constituency he helped transform from a backwater island to an worldwide tourist spot.

"I think right now, it looks more favourable to BN. however, the margin that we're talking about is very small", said Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, a Malaysia scholar at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

Malaysia's 14th general election has become increasingly hard to call in recent weeks, borne out by polling data suggesting that PH has gained on BN, despite earlier expectations that Mr Najib would cruise to victory with the Islamic Parti Islam SeMalaysia splitting the anti-BN vote.

Malaysians go to the polls on Wednesday (May 9) to decide the outcome of one of the country's fiercest political battles in decades, with Prime Minister Najib Razak and his ruling Barisan Nasional coalition facing a challenge led by his one-time mentor, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Most results are expected to come in before midnight but the count may spill into the early hours of Thursday.

There are around 15 million eligible voters.

"So altogether five million people followed my speech, so they seem interested in what I said, and I hope they can be influenced by what I say". With these numbers, neither camp would have the 112 seats required to rule and the result will hinge on 37 seats that the pollster said were too close to call. A simple majority of 112 parliament seats will produce a victor.




Critics have accused BN of gerrymandering with a redrawing of electoral boundaries that created constituencies more likely to back them, while activists have alleged irregularities in the electoral roll, including dead people appearing on the list.

The survey shows that BN will win 100 out of the 222 parliament seats, while the opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan, or Alliance of Hope winning 83 seats.

At the age of 92, most people are enjoying retirement - but Mahathir has returned to the campaign trail as the opposition's candidate against scandal-haunted leader Najib Razak.

After being released, Anwar led the opposition to its best-ever showing in 2013 elections, but was imprisoned again in 2015 under Najib's government.

Anwar once served as Mahathir's deputy before he was sacked in 1998 in a bitter political feud, and later jailed on sodomy and corruption charges. Billions of dollars were allegedly stolen from the fund, which was set up and overseen by Najib.

Election officials say turnout has hit 55 percent by 1 p.m.in Malaysia's general election.

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