Malaysians set for May 5 polls
Updated 10 April 2013, 22:59 AEST
Malaysia's Election Commission has announced May 5 as polling day for the country's 13th general election.
Election Commission chairman Aziz Yusof says the two-week official campaign period will kick off on April 20.
Parliament was dissolved last week and on the weekend Prime Minister Najib Razak released the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition's election manifesto.
The election campaign is set to be the closest in 56-years, pitting BN against the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance, led by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Mr Najib hopes to extend the government's unbeaten run in the polls by focusing on his steady economic stewardship.
"This election is a choice between sticking with a competent, reform-minded government and risking our prosperity on a fractious, inexperienced opposition," a spokesman for Najib said.
The opposition has won support with pledges of transparent governance and respect for civil liberties, enjoying unprecedented freedom to get its message past state-controlled mainstream media via the internet.
"For Pakatan Rakyat it is the best possible chance to offer a viable alternative for democracy and a more responsible government. I think the chances of winning are very good," Mr Anwar said.
The Malaysian opposition gained its best ever result in the previous election in 2008, when it broke the government's two-thirds majority in parliament.
Nearly 2,500,000 new voters have registered for the election with most of them set to vote for the first time.
BN holds 135 of parliament's 222 seats and nine of Malaysia's 13 states, while the opposition has 75 seats and control of four states.
Photo: A supporter of Malaysia's ruling National Front coalition, or Barisan Nasional, carries manifestos after the launching by Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak at a stadium in Bukit Jalil, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, on April 6, 2013. (AFP: Mohd Rasfan)
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