Malaysian Leader Jump-Starts Elections, and Stacks the Odds


(The New York Times) – Malaysia’s leader has said he will dissolve Parliament on Saturday, paving the way for the most contentious general elections in the country since it gained independence more than six decades ago.

The election will be a referendum on Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is running for a third term amid a lingering scandal involving billions of dollars that were diverted from a Malaysian state investment fund.

The elections will pit Mr. Najib, who has vowed to “make Malaysia great,” against his erstwhile mentor Mahathir Mohamad, a former prime minister whose 22-year rule was as transformative as it was divisive. After years of hounding Malaysia’s political opposition, Dr. Mahathir, 92, defected from the governing coalition to partner with his former enemies.

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