Doubts over free, fair election
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday said his opposition alliance could easily win a general election that must be held by August, so long as it was free and fair, but that he expected it to be “terribly dirty”.
At 92, the old political war horse has another shot at the top job, and a win against scandal-tainted Prime Minister Najib Razak would make him the world’s oldest premier.
It would also bring to an end the 61-year rule of a party that Mahathir helped build, and which has held power since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957.
“We have a good chance of winning this time because public opinion is very much for us,” he said.
“The only way Najib can frustrate us is by cheating. If it’s free and fair, we will win hands down.”
Mahathir was a tough estab- lishment stalwart for decades, the scourge of dissenters who dared to challenge the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno).
But a scandal over a state-run investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), has brought unprecedented shifts in political forces, and Mahathir heads an opposition alliance and is seen as the biggest threat to Najib.
Najib denies any wrongdoing over 1MDB, which is at the centre of money-laundering investigations in at least six countries.
Despite the scandal, analysts and ruling party sources say Najib is confident of election victory.
The opposition alliance is concerned about plans to redraw the boundaries of more than half of 222 parliamentary constituencies. Critics say the moves are unconstitutional and could skew voting in favour of Najib. – Reuters