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07 December 2023

Voting begins in Malaysian by-election test for ruling coalition

Supporters of Malaysia's ruling party, National Front, shout outside a polling station during key by-election in Kuala Terengganu. (REUTERS)


Voting has begun in a federal parliamentary by-election seen as a popularity test for Malaysia’s ruling coalition, nearly a year after its worst performance in national polls.

The contest on Saturday for the seat in northeastern Terengganu state pits Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh from the National Front coalition and Mohammad Abdul Wahid Endut for the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party.

The seat fell vacant after the National Front’s incumbent died in November.

The results of the election will not change the balance of power in parliament, where Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s National Front retains a comfortable majority.

But the National Front is anxious to prevent a second consecutive electoral loss after former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim won a by-election in September to return to Parliament as opposition leader after a 10-year gap.