Malaysians are holding their breath for what will be its most heated elections in a long time. Incumbent Najib Razak of the Barisan Nasional (BN) has been in power for 9 years, and has achieved decent economic growth, but is under pressure from a slew of scandals and defections. The most prominent defection is that of veteran and former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, a positively un-millennial 92 years of age, who has crossed sides to lead the opposition Pakatan Harapan party. Even more worrying for Najib are the corruption allegations over the 1MDB developmental agency. At the same time that $4.5 billion went missing from 1MDB’s coffers, an estimated $681 million appeared in Najib’s bank account, which he not very convincingly explained away as coming from an unnamed donor.
Nonetheless, Najib might still come away from these elections with his power intact – Malaysian elections are seen as heavily gerrymandered, and the upcoming elections are expected to skew constituencies even more in BN’s favour.