Malaysia: Polling begins for general elections

Former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad left waves to people as he arrives to a voting center to cast his ballot for the general election in Alor Setar state capital of Kedah northern Malaysia Wednesday

Malaysia: Polling begins for general elections

The US Justice Department says $4.5bn was looted from the 1MBD investment fund by associates of the prime minister between 2009 and 2014, including $700m that landed in Najib's bank account.

US investigators say at least $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund by associates of Najib between 2009 and 2014, including $700 million that landed in Najib's bank account.

Najib, who was chairman of 1MDB's advisory board, has denied any wrongdoing and has been cleared of any offence by Malaysia's attorney general. "We want to restore the rule of law". He says the opposition's majority is bigger than announced so far.

The opposition overcame its lack of airtime on mainstream media by broadcasting the 92-year-old's address on Facebook Live, and at rallies nationwide prior to the midnight close of the campaign.

Mahathir served as Prime Minister of the Southeast Asian nation from 1981 to 2003.

But the governing National Front, or Barisan Nasional, has not been idle.

Mahathir said the party would work on acquiring a pardon for PKR's official leader Anwar Ibrahim who is now in prison on sodomy charges.

However the commission insisted it was not keeping back the results due to "bad faith" and urged people to be patient. The commission did not respond to phone calls or text messages seeking comment. There are 222 seats in parliament. Mahathir also warned that if Najib gets a landslide majority, he may be tempted to change the constitution to become a dictator.

Many expressed concern that having the vote on a Wednesday, Malaysia's first weekday poll in almost two decades, would affect turnout at the ballot boxes. Its running of the election has been criticized by both opposition and ruling party figures.

The opposition has complained that a midweek vote might discourage a high turnout.

"To all eligible Malaysians, I wish a happy voting!" It is not fake news.

Malaysians head to the polls on Wednesday (May 9) in what is likely to be the most hotly contested elections in the country's history.

Around 85 percent voted in the last election in 2013.

They had meant to give their votes to someone flying home on May 7, but when their ballot papers didn't arrive until 4pm the next day the group needed a Plan B. So Eva, and 10 other voters in San Francisco, chipped in to pay the $990 plane ticket for a person she "barely knew" to hand carry their ballots back to Malaysia. "Many were out early to cast their ballot". But with ballots only sent to worldwide voters a week earlier many voters' only option was to find a volunteer to hand their vote to an election official before 5 p.m. Wednesday. "BN is far behind and there's no way they can catch up". He said the incidents are isolated and the commission will investigate. "Impossible. I didn't dare think even though I was out there and I saw the crowds", said his daughter Marina Mahathir.

A crowd of cameramen and photographers jostled for space as a smiling Mahathir, 92, entered the polling booth and waited for his turn to vote. I really hope that my one small vote can help. "People are for people".

Najib showed reporters a finger stained in purple ink after voting and then greeted supporters.

The election pits Najib against his former-mentor-turned opponent Mahathir Mohamad, the country's longest-serving prime minister.

"I feel very good, I am confident unless Najib cheats". Urban voters of Malaysia would also find it hard to go home to vote.

Research firm Capital Economics said in an April note that Najib's chances will be improved by "years of gerrymandering" that will make it easier for the government to collect a majority.

Former Malaysian prime minister and opposition candidate Mahathir Mohamad (C) celebrates with other leaders of his coalition during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on May 10, 2018.

He was referring to Najib's final rallying speech on Tuesday night in which he offered a slew of incentives to voters including public holidays next Monday and Tuesday, a blanket income tax waiver for all Malaysian under the age of 26, and five toll-free days for motorists during the Islamic Eid al-Fitr festival in June.

Early results showed that BN had lost seats in key states that have traditionally been its strongholds, raising the prospect that it could be voted out of power for the first time in the country's six decades of independence from Britain.

MCA president and transport minister Liow Tiong Lai also lost his seat in Bentong, Pahang.

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