Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Friday said that Parliament would be dissolved on Saturday, paving the way for fresh elections in the country. “I would like to inform the people that I met the king [Muhammad V of Kelantan] and sought his permission for Parliament to be dissolved on Saturday,” Najib said on state television, Channel NewsAsia reported.
“We have delivered and we will continue to deliver,” Najib said of his Barisan Nasional coalition government. “I seek your mandate for Barisan Nasional to rule for another five years.”
The prime minister further added: “If victory is given to the Barisan Nasional, we promise to do our best, to carry out a bigger, more inclusive and more comprehensive transformation of the country.”
Najib’s coalition will face a challenge from an Opposition bloc led by 92-year-old former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. A group of Opposition parties had chosen Mohamad as their leader in January, and he has formed an alliance with former deputy prime minister and bitter rival Anwar Ibrahim.
Najib is embroiled in a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal. He resisted demands to step down in 2015 despite reports of financial mismanagement at 1Malaysia Development Berhad, including an allegation that he received $681 million (Rs 4,425 crore) in his personal bank account.
On Friday, Mohamad said it would be a “dirty election”. “Should Najib win this election through his tricks and his cheating, then we can kiss goodbye to democracy,” he told reporters.
Under Malaysian law, a fresh election must be held within 60 days of dissolution of Parliament.