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Malaysia PM pledges cash, jobs as polls near

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Najib Razak
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak shouts slogans during a National Front coalition or Barisan Nasional rally, in Kuala Lumpur in this Apr. 7 photo. -- AFP

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s scandal-hit Prime Minister Najib Razak last Saturday pledged millions of new jobs and more cash for low-income workers, ahead of a tough election battle expected early next month.

Mr. Najib is fighting to win a third term at the head of his ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which has governed Malaysia since independence in 1957 but has seen support drop in recent years. He faces a revived opposition and is battling a massive financial scandal.

“This war, we must win! Never let it go to the opposition!” he told a packed stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

Mr. Najib said he would increase cash aid handouts to low-income households, as well as pledged to create three million jobs and gradually raise the minimum wage to at least RM1,500 (US$387) per month.

He faces a challenge from the opposition alliance Pact of Hope, led by 92-year-old former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. — AFP