30 Jan '11, 4am

Malaysian by-election gives test of political mood

KUALA LUMPUR: Voting began on Sunday in a by-election in a bastion of Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, a contest that could help trigger national polls this year. The vote was called in the semi-rural Tenang constituency in southern Johor state after the death of a state assemblyman from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the dominant party in the coalition. After nine days of tough campaigning and lively night rallies, voters began trickling in to polling stations to cast their ballots. The by-election pits the Barisan Nasional's Mohamad Azahar Ibrahim, 39, against Normala Sudirman, a rising star within the conservative Islamic party (PAS) which belongs to the opposition alliance. The outcome will not alter power in the state which is ruled by the coalition, but a convincing victory would indicate that support for Prime Minister Najib Razak remai...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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