News / Asia

Malaysia’s Opposition Leader Sees Early Elections

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (file photo)
Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
Ron Corben

Malaysian opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, says he expects the Malaysian government of Prime Minister Najib Razak to call early elections within months despite one more year for the government’s term in office to run. Anwar says the opposition is pegging its hopes of winning control of the government, for the first time in six decades, on policies promoting economic reforms.

Malaysia’s opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, is predicting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will hold elections  within months, well ahead of the end of the goverment's full term in office in March, 2013.

Anwar, speaking to reporters in Bangkok, pointed to recently announced  government income support programs as a sign the governing coalition parties were preparing the people for a national vote.

“I would assume that the elections are just around the corner. We had a discussion among the opposition coalition yesterday - most of them are not too convinced that the election will be very soon. But I told them - and I think it will be much sooner than later. But it’s tough for us because the campaign period will be one week - the shortest in the world,” he said.

Prime Minister Najib, who came to office in mid-term in 2009, has triggered this speculation of early elections in recent months.

Former Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has warned the ruling UMNO coalition to allow more time to boost support especially among the Chinese minority before holding elections.

Anwar said the opposition would be offering the people major economic reforms, including an end to programs that in the past led to affirmative action policies - known as the New Economic Policy - that provided the majority ethnic group, the Malays,  with education, housing and employment preferences.

“So the [opposition] economic policy clearly states that we have to dismantle what we consider as obsolete race-based New Economic Policy to replace it with the Malaysian Economic Agenda which promotes growth, which has to bring back Malaysia into a growing vibrant economy, more competitive able to attract  - as in attractive destination for investments,” he said.

Anwar said Malaysia had fallen behind on the regional economic ladder over the past 20 years as other countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and more recently the Philippines, captured a larger share of foreign investment, growth and competitiveness. He said if he won the election his government would also look to address corruption, assist the poor and the marginalized communities.

The governing United Malays National Organization - UMNO - which has led Malaysia since independence in 1957 has been facing increasing challenges from the opposition parties over recent years, especially in state elections.

Under Anwar the opposition made strong gains in national elections in 2008.

Anwar, a former finance minister under Prime Minister Mahathir, has faced a long political battle after he was sentenced to six years in prison for corruption in 1999 and another nine years for charges of sodomy.

But a federal court in 2004 quashed the second conviction and he was released. In January this year the Court again acquitted Anwar on a second sodomy charge. The Malaysian prosecutors are appealing the verdict.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid