Malaysia votes in key by-elections | world | Hindustan Times
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Malaysia votes in key by-elections

world Updated: Apr 07, 2009 13:42 IST

Malaysians on Tuesday voted in key by-elections for a parliamentary and two state assembly seats including in a constituency where both ruling and opposition parties have fielded ethnic Indian candidates, a contest seen as a test for new Premier Najib Tun Razak's popularity.

The ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, had fared miserably in last year's March general elections led by the then premier Abdullah Badawi, who agreed to step down after his UMNO party lost its two thirds seats in Parliament and hung on to power with a thin majority.

The by-elections are being held for one parliamentary constituency in Perak state and two state assembly seats in Sarawak and Kedah.

The results, expected to be out soon, will not change the balance of power but are being seen as a test of popularity of Najib, who took over as Premier only four days back.

A total of nearly 100,000 people are eligible to cast ballots in the three districts.

Both the Barisan Nasional and opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) party fielded ethnic Indian candidates for the Bukit Selambu assembly seat in Kedah state. Barisan candidate S Ganesan and PKR candidate S Manikumar were among hundreds of voters who came out early to cast their votes.