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Malaysia's elections set on May 5


08:38, April 11, 2013

Abdul Aziz Mohamad Yusof, chairman of Election Commission, speaks during a press conference announcing the election date for Malaysia's 13th general elections at the Election Commission offices in Putrajaya, Malaysia, April 10, 2013. Malaysians will vote on May 5 in the country's 13th general elections with nomination set on April 20, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung)

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Malaysians will vote on May 5 in the country's 13th general elections with nomination set on April 20, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday.

Candidates are given 16 days to campaign in the elections, longer than the period allotted in previous elections.

Parliamentary and state elections will be held simultaneously.

Prime minister Najib Razak had last Wednesday dissolved the parliament.

Election commission chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof told a press conference at the Election Commission headquarters the commission is prepared to spend 400 million ringgit in the election, making it the most expensive election to date, as he gave repeated assurance that the election process will be clean and fair.

"We have cleaned up the electoral rolls and check the data from time to time. We have tried our best I am satisfied that this would be the most peaceful elections," Abdul Aziz said.

In response to a question on opposition's claim that this election would be the dirtiest, he said "I disagree that the 13th general elections would be dirty, we have done so many changes... the political parties and supporters must follow the rules."

Banners and flags of political parties have already been hoisted on buildings and makeshift tents prepared for stumps were set up even before Wednesday's announcement as analysts predict this year's elections to be the hardest fight in history.

The ruling coalition, Najib's National Front suffered its worst ever showing in history by winning only 140 of the 222 seats in the parliament -- less than two-thirds of the legislative majority, and lost five out of 13 states to opposition People's Alliance in the 2008 elections.

The National Front had ruled the country since its independence 56 years ago.

The election commission and the government had come under fire over electoral fraud.

Activists had led tens of thousands of people in two mass rallies over the past two years to demand for free and fair elections, prompting the electoral body to be more transparent and mend the flaw in its system.

Nurul Izzah Anwar, an opposition MP and daughter of the opposition bloc's leader Anwar Ibrahim, had recently attempted to haul the election commission to court over alleged 4,773 dubious voters out of those 71,000 registered on her constituency's electoral roll.

Although she failed to get the consent to challenge the election commission, the case raised more skepticism whether the election commission has cleaned up the electoral roll as they claimed.

Election commission chief, admitted the electoral laws in the country "could be" limited as the agency has had a hard time tallying voters' residency with their constituency.

The commission appointed 2,500 domestic observers and 35 foreign observers from five Southeast Asian countries to monitor the polls.

Aziz said his commission did not appoint any observers in the 2008 elections.

13.3 million of Malaysia's 29 million population are registered voters.

In 2008, there were 10.7 million registered voters and the turnout rate at the polls was about 70 percent.

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