Malaysia's ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) will be facing a tough challenge to its 61-year hold on power on May 9 when the country goes to general elections. Malaysia's Election Commission informed about the date on Tuesday, April 10.
The election will be a test especially for Malaysia's embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak who is struggling to contain disappointment over the rising expenses and a multi-billion dollar scandal at a state fund founded by him. Razak is in power in the Southeast Asian country since 2009.
Razak, 64, is however expected to overcome the challenges as the BN enjoys a strong control over the country's weakened institutions. Razak's opponents also claim that the government would resort to all sorts of unethical means to win the elections.
However, Razak's main challenge would be from his 92-year-old mentor Mahathir Mohamad who is also the country's longest-serving prime minister who was in power between 1981 and 2003. Mohamad is reportedly contesting this election from Langkwai in his home state of Kedah in northwestern Malaysia. Mohamad was also confident of unseating the BN from power. Mohamad is contesting this election under the banner of the People's Justice Party as his own party - PPBM - was provisionally disbanded for allegedly failing to produce documents to the Registrar of Societies.
The election commission has also put in place a campaign period lasting 11 days, shorter than the fortnight period which was decided upon in the 2013 polls.
Nearly 15 million people are eligible to cast their ballots in the May 9 election with 1.7 new voters.
Concerns, however, have been raised over deciding a weekday for holding the elections which many believe would affect the voter turnout.
Besides, the Opposition has claimed that the government's efforts in redrawing electoral boundaries and pushing an anti-fake news bill were aimed at making things easier for Razak to emerge a winner. The government and election commission rubbished these allegations saying the observers included equal numbers of local people and foreigners which would ensure fairness.