Abdullah told reporters that the ruling Barisan Naional coalition hopes to retain a two-thirds majority of the 222 seats up for grabs at the polls.

 

The election follows a series of rare public protests by groups accusing the government of introducing unfair election laws and by ethnic Indians alleging discrimination.

 

The government has taken a firm line against such protests, saying they risk undermining Malaysia's multi-ethnic balance and ordering police to use water cannon and tear gas to break up demonstrations.

 

An election date is expected to be announced shortly by Malaysia's election commission.