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Malaysia Passes Disputed Bill to Change Electoral Borders


Malaysia's opposition coalition prime ministerial candidate Mahathir Mohamad speaks against a controversial proposal to redraw electoral boundaries outside near the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 28, 2018. The sign (front R) reads: "Go o
Malaysians Protest Changing Electoral Maps
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Malaysia's Parliament has passed a disputed bill to change the borders of electoral areas.

Prime Minister Najib Razak called for the change to reform the voting areas. Critics say the new plan divides constituencies by ethnicity and weakens the voting power of the opposition.

They argue that the changes would unfairly help Najib’s ruling National Front coalition win the general election later this year. The party faces its most difficult election in years.

Hundreds of demonstrators protested in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, before lawmakers voted on the measure. The activists wore yellow clothing, representing the opposition. They marched toward the Parliament building but police stopped them before they reached its gates.

The National Front has ruled Malaysia since gaining independence from Britain in 1957. Its current leader, Prime Minister Najib, is dealing with reported financial wrongdoing involving the state-operated company 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The case involves billions of dollars.

I'm Anna Matteo.

VOA News reported this story. Lucija Millonig adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver edited it.

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Words in This Story

constituency - n. the people who live and vote in an area​

gate - n. ​a place in a wall or a fence that has a movable part which can be opened or closed like a door​

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