Malaysians look ahead to election as income gap widens
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 - 01:12
May 2 - Rising living costs and a lack of job opportunities could prompt Malaysians to vote against the 56-year ruling party in a hotly contested election on May 5. Lily Grimes reports.
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Malaysia is aflutter with party flags ahead of a general election on May 5th.
The governing National Front has been in power for over fifty years and Prime Minister Najib Razak has overseen continued economic growth during his four-year tenure.
But rising living costs and concern over income inequality are high priorities for Malaysian voters this time round.
In the 2008 election, the National Front lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time.
Nurul Izzah Anwar of the People's Justice Party says Malaysia's economic growth is being undermined by cronyism.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) PEOPLE'S JUSTICE PARTY PARLIAMENTARY SEAT CANDIDATE, NURUL IZZAH ANWAR SAYING:
"Because Malaysia is a rich country, but most of its wealth is being sucked by the cronies and we cannot continue, we cannot go on like this. You must understand we have to give equal opportunities."
But some analysts say this is an over-used vote-winning tactic.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIVERSITY OF MALAYA'S FACULTY OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES PROFESSOR, SUPPAIAH BALAKRISHNAN SAYING:
"Ideas about cronyism, government linked companies - these are rampant since 1998, 1997 crisis and it will be always use as a point of criticism.''
According to the World Bank Malaysia has the third-highest income inequality in Southeast Asia.
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