Five million voters in Malaysia have been going to the polls today (8 July) in the country's fifth general election since independence from Britain in 1957.
Five million voters in Malaysia have been going to the polls today (8 July) in the country's fifth general election since independence from Britain in 1957. Its expected that the ruling National Front will be returned to power with an overwhelming majority, giving Prime Minister Datuk Hussein Onn a fresh mandate for his economic policies. At stake are 154 seats in the federal parliament and 276 seats in ten state assemblies.
SYNOPSIS: Despite waging their campaigns to the end....the two main opposition parties, the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party and the Malay dominated Islamic Party, have already conceded victory to the National Front.
A ban on public rallies has handicapped opposition efforts to get their message across to the voters. Instead, they have had to rely almost totally on house to house campaigns, street leafleting, and small party meetings. The government ordered the ban during the campaign period for fear that communist guerillas might cause violent incidents.
A DAP which advocates equal opportunities for all Malaysians regardless of their race, has been unable to win over the Malays. But because of growing Chinese discontent with the implementation of economic policy by Malay officials, DAP is likely to gain more seats.
Campaigning with the strong political advantage of past performance, and a well-oiled machine from years in power, the National Front pledged it would keep its promise of economic development based on the principle of giving the majority Malays a larger share of the resources now controlled by the Chinese and other minority races. Datuk Hussein Onn's United National Malays Organisation dominates the National Front coalition, which shares power with smaller Chinese and Indian parties. The National Front 15 committed in giving Malays a 30 percent share of the economy by 1990. Malaysia's prospering economy and the theme of "you've never had it so good", has been an effective part of the ruling coalition's campaign. Malays voters are getting higher prices for rubber and palm oil and are impatient with the opposition Islamic Party's old theme of introducing Islamic law.
Election officials said they expected a heavy turnout at the polls. Today's election comes more than a year before the government's present term of office expires.