Malaysia’s veteran ex-leader named as opposition PM candidate

Vastavam web: Malaysia’s veteran ex-leader Mahathir Mohamad was named as the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate today as a bruising election battle looms against scandal-plagued premier Najib Razak and his long-ruling coalition.The decision means the 92-year-old, a hugely divisive figure criticised for ruling with an iron fist during his long reign, could return as premier 15 years after stepping down.Mahathir came out of retirement to take on Najib as anger mounted at allegations billions of dollars were looted from a state investment fund, 1MDB, founded by the current premier.

Both Najib, whose United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has led the country in a coalition since independence in 1957, and the fund deny any wrongdoing.
The elections must be called by August but speculation is mounting they will be held in the next few months.”It wasn’t easy for the parties that were my enemies before to accept me — but they are aware of the importance of bringing down the current government.”

People’s Justice Party president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Anwar’s wife, was named as deputy prime minister candidate.But most analysts think that the ruling coalition will win as the system is greatly stacked in their favour, the economy has performed well recently and the opposition has often appeared disunited.