Malaysians queue to vote in hotly contested election

Voting has begun in a fiercely contested Malaysian election that pits an opposition led by former authoritarian leader Mahathir Mohamad against the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose image has been sullied by corruption allegations and an unpopular goods and services tax.

Polling booths opened at 8 a.m. Wednesday and long queues had already formed at some voting locations in Kuala Lumpur and other cities.

Analysts say the ruling National Front might lose the popular vote for a second consecutive election. But it could still win a majority of seats in parliament due to an electoral system that gives more power to its rural Malay supporters.

Najib, in an election eve appeal to voters, promised income tax exemptions for young people and public holidays if his coalition wins.