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Malaysia election set for May 5

Kuala Lumpur, Apr 10 (): Malaysian government has set May 5 as the election date on Wednesday and this election could be the toughest test of the ruling coalition’s 56-year grip on power in Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy.

Last week, Prime Minister Najib Razak dissolved Parliament less than a month before the end of the parliamentary term and has made way for the election.

Voters will decide whether to prolong the decade-long rule of National Front coalition amid strong economic growth, or give chance to the opposition party to make good on its pledge of a corruption-free alternative that focuses on improving living conditions and boosting wages.

Election commission chairman Abdul Aziz Yusof said that the deadline for nominations of the parliamentary and states polls was April 20, which will eventually kick-start a two-week campaign period and the election end by sending 222 lawmakers to Parliament.

National Front coalition leader Najib Razak has been in power for 56 years. He faces a tough challenge from the three-party coalition led by ex-Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

The opposition alliance took an unprecedented number of seats during the 2008 elections that saw the National Front lose its two-thirds majority for the first time.

Najib has pledged to fight corruption and bring down living costs as the National Front led by Anwar has also promised to improve the lives of ordinary Malaysians.

Prime Minister Najib hopes to extend the unbeaten run of the government in the polls by focusing on his steady economic stewardship and a torrent of cash hand-outs and other inducements to the public. The government has raised salaries of military, police and civil servants to encourage voters.

But, the opposition has won support with pledges of a more open era, and has enjoyed extraordinary freedom to get its message past state-controlled mainstream media via the Internet. At the same time, the opposition has accused the government of authoritarianism and corruption.