Malaysia ruling coalition wins electoral tests

Malaysia`s ruling coalition celebrated impressive victories in two special elections on Thursday, signalling an apparent fall in support for the opposition that might embolden PM Najib Razak to call early national polls.

Updated: Nov 04, 2010, 22:06 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia): Malaysia`s ruling
coalition celebrated impressive victories in two special
elections on Thursday, signalling an apparent fall in support for
the opposition that might embolden Prime Minister Najib Razak
to call early national polls.

The results are a major morale boost for the National
Front coalition, which has battled to regain public support
after clinging on to power despite losing more than one-third
of the seats in Parliament in 2008 general elections.
In two simultaneous polls today, the National Front
retained a parliamentary seat on Borneo island with a sharply
higher majority compared to 2008 and wrested a state
legislature seat in northeastern Malaysia`s Kelantan state
from opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim`s three-party alliance,
according to the Election Commission.

Malaysia`s next general elections are not due until
mid-2013, but analysts say Najib could call for snap polls as
early as next year if he believes enough voters approve of his
efforts to curb corruption, economic mismanagement and racial
discrimination.

The results of today`s voting reflected that "the
momentum of the opposition seems to be slowing down," Ibrahim
Suffian, director of independent research firm Merdeka Center,
told The Associated Press.

"It gives (Najib) a sense of comfort," Ibrahim said,
adding that early elections "cannot be ruled out."

Based on the results, some voters appeared to be
appreciative of Najib`s economic and administrative reform
programs, and many might also be disappointed with Anwar`s
opposition alliance for being embroiled in infighting and
failing to deliver on political promises over the past two
years, Ibrahim said.
The results mark a reversal of fortunes for Anwar`s
alliance, which won eight of 11 similar previous by-elections
after seizing an unprecedented number of Parliament and state
seats in 2008.

The by-elections in which nearly 25,000 people cast
ballots were called because of the death of the incumbents,
but did not change the balance of power in Parliament or
Kelantan state.

PTI