After months of speculation, May 5th was announced as election day for Malaysia. KiniTV spoke to a range of people – from a taxi driver to a 7-11 worker – to find out whether Malaysians will be casting their vote this GE13 and for whom.
The possibility of an end to more than half a century of one-party rule has made this the hardest-fought election anyone can remember, says BBC South-East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head. The hunger for change, especially among younger Malaysians, has given the opposition real momentum during the campaign, says our correspondent. But the ruling party has significant advantages, he adds, in the cash it has spent on crowd-pleasing hand-outs, and in the way Malaysia’s parliamentary system over-represents rural areas, where the government’s support is strongest.
Barisan Nasional, while credited with bringing economic development and political stability, has also been tainted by allegations of corruption. It is not clear whether Mr Anwar’s coalition, comprising parties of different ethnicities and religions, can persuade voters to choose an alternative government. Mr Najib, 59, said he was confident that Malaysians would retain his coalition and even return the two-thirds parliamentary majority Barisan Nasional lost in the 2008 polls.
“I asked myself, why are we getting more support from people?” he said during a campaign rally on Thursday.
“Because for the last four years we have proved that our national transformation has been able to protect and benefit all Malaysians.”
Meanwhile, Mr Anwar, 65, said people’s clamour for change meant that Pakatan Rakyat would emerge victorious. ”God willing, we will succeed,” he told the Associated Press news agency. ”People have enough of this semi-authoritarian rule, of complete control of the media, of strong arrogance, of power and endemic corruption.”
Ahead of Malaysia’s elections on Sunday, independent online media say they are being targeted in Internet attacks which filter content and throttle access to websites, threatening to deprive voters of their main source of independent reporting. Th eold ways are set to battle with the new. Corruption is endemic. The opposition, led by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, has campaigned for clean government – and it could yet turn out to be a winning ticket.