Malaysia will go to the polls on May 9, the country’s election commission said on Tuesday, in a contest set to test Prime Minister, Najib Razak.
Razak will run for re-election against his former mentor, 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, who governed Malaysia for more than two decades between 1981 and 2003. The prime minister is expected to win re-election in spite allegations of massive corruption linked to state fund 1MDB, which he denies.
He recently moved to tighten his grip on power, with the opposition accusing him of trying to buy support with cash incentives from his power-base, rural Malays. His government also passed a bill to combat “fake news’’ earlier this month, which critics say is an attempt to muzzle criticism, including on his alleged involvement in the 1MDB scandal.
On April 5, authorities also ordered the temporary disbandment of Mahathir’s new coalition party, Bersatu, saying it had failed to present the correct paperwork for registration.
“Najib is cheating in order to win elections by paralyzing his opponents,’’ Mahathir said.