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Malaysia Election Is Tight Race Two Days Before Vote, Poll Shows

May 3 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s ruling coalition is “almost evenly tied” with the opposition alliance ahead of a May 5 election, according to an opinion survey released today.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s group received backing from 42 percent of voters, while Najib’s Barisan Nasional trailed with 41 percent, according to the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research. The result of the poll was within the margin of error of 2.45 percent in the survey of 1,600 people on peninsula Malaysia, conducted between April 28 and May 2.

Merdeka estimated that Anwar’s alliance would win 89 seats and Najib’s coalition would take 85, with two going to smaller parties and 46 too close to call. Either side needs 112 seats to command a majority in the 222-member parliament.

Najib’s coalition is facing its biggest test in 55 years of unbroken rule since Malaysia gained independence from the U.K. in 1957. The election will be the closest Malaysia has ever had, Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, told Bloomberg TV today.

Concerns over the economy topped the list of election issues for voters, the survey showed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chong Pooi Koon in Kuala Lumpur at pchong17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net

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