Malaysian general election 2008 update

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Following are some of the recent developments in the upcoming general election in Malaysia.

Date for election set

Malaysia's Election Committee announced last Thursday that parliamentary elections will be held on the 8th of March. The registration of candidates is to commence on February 24, leaving 13 days for campaigning. Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had announced a day earlier that parliament was dissolved, making elections possible.

Peaceful rally dispersed by police

An action to give the Prime Minister roses after marching to parliament, which had not been given a police permit, was blocked by police and then dispersed using water cannons and tear-gas on Saturday. The rally had been organized by Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), who said they wanted to peacefully demand that five of their leaders, who have been detained without charge following a far larger march last November, be freed.

Incumbent member of opposition party not standing

Fong Po Kuan of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), the largest of the opposition parties, has said she will not stand for another term, citing party internal problems: "it has become impossible for me to continue serving effectively, efficiently and wholeheartedly as a party leader as well as an elected representative of the people". The New Straits Times claims that unnamed observers see the move as a strong blow to the DAP's campaign in the province of Perak, where she was deemed to be nominated.

Background

The elections will see the ruling coalition, the Barisan National (BN) which had won an unprecedented 90% of all seats in parliament last election, facing of against a number of less united opposition parties. The Barisan National has ruled since Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957. Badawi has been Prime Minister since 2003.


Sources

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