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Malaysia's leaders start campaign amid tight race - Financial Markets Worldwide

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Economy 3 hours ago (Nov 5, 2022 02:31AM EST)


Malaysian leaders kick off election campaigns in tight race © Reuters. Supporters of the National Front coalition Barisan Nasional shout slogans outside the nomination centre on Nomination Day in Bella, Pahang state, Malaysia, November 5, 2022. Reuters/Lai Shengxian


by A. Ananthalakshmi and Rozanna Latiff

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s political leaders kicked off their campaign on Saturday in what will be a close race with incumbent Prime Minister Ismay Ersabri confronted veterans Anwar Ibrahim and Muhyiddin Yassin.

Opinion polls and analysts say no single party or coalition will win a simple majority in the 222-seat parliament, and the opposition coalition must unite to form the next government.

Some 21 million Malaysians are eligible to vote in the Nov. 19 election, with inflation and recent political instability top of mind amid a slowing economy Consideration. Malaysia has had three prime ministers since the last general election in 2018.

The rival coalition is led by Ismail, former prime minister Muhyiddin and longtime opposition leader Anwar. There are several other parties in the race, including one founded by another former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, and that factor is expected to divide the vote more than ever.

“This is the first time we’ve seen three equally strong coalitions compete with seasoned leaders,” said Adib Zalkapli, director of political consultancy Bower Group Asia.

He said it was very likely that there would be no clear winner in the polls and the coalition would have to negotiate to form a government.

Prime Minister Ismail from the Barisan Nasional coalition said no parliamentary seat was easily won in this election, state news agency Bernama reported.

He and other leaders submitted their nominations on Saturday, officially starting the two-week campaign period.

The election comes as Malaysia’s economy is expected to slow due to a global slowdown, hampering its recovery from the pandemic-induced recession. Inflation is also on the rise, with Malaysia’s central bank raising interest rates for the fourth time in a row this week.

Political infighting

In the last elections in 2018, the Malaysian opposition united to defeat the since-secretary British rule The Barisan Nasional has ruled the country for 60 years without interruption since independence.

Widespread anger over the multi-billion dollar 1MDB scandal and other corruption allegations against the then-led Barisan Najib Razak. Najib began his 12-year jail term for corruption this year.

The opposition at the time included Anwar, Muhyiddin and Mahathir, but their alliance disintegrated after only 22 months in power due to infighting. The leaders did not cooperate in this election.

After the disintegration of the opposition coalition, the corruption-tainted Barisan Nasional returned to power as part of another coalition.

No single coalition can win a majority and three or more must join forces to form a new coalition, a poll by independent pollster Merdeka Center showed on Friday. alliance.

The poll also showed that Anwar is the most popular among voters among the three major coalitions – 26%, although nearly 31% of voters have yet to decide who to vote. Barisan Nasional came in second with 24%.

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