Malaysian PM announces dissolution of parliament amid crackdown on freedom of speech

Howard TerryApr 07, 2018

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak chaired a cabinet meeting Friday, official media reported, as speculation mounted he was due to dissolve parliament later in the day for a tough election battle.

The prime minister said that he already get approval from King Sultan Muhammad V in this regard.

A woman passes a live telecast of Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak addressing the nation on the dissolution of Parliament at an electronics shop in Port Klang, Malaysia, on Friday.

"The king has permitted for parliament to be dissolved effective Saturday, April 7", Najib said in a special announcement on the state TV broadcaster. He hoped that voters will turn to the opposition in this elections instead of ruling coalition.

Sharing the achievements of the Barisan Nasional Government Pledge, Najib said the government had fulfilled 99.4 per cent of its promises until Feb 28 this year.

The ruling coalition headed by Najib has been in power since independence in 1957 but their support has been dropping in recent years, and a scandal surrounding sovereign wealth fund 1MDB that captured global headlines has added to their problems.

Even if Najib's coalition retains power, a weak victory could lead to an internal leadership challenge against him. 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.

The leader and fund deny any wrongdoing. Transactions related to 1MDB are under investigation in six countries including the United States, Singapore and Switzerland. 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.

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