Candidates for the 11th elections in the Malaysian state of Sarawak filed nomination papers for all 82 seats on Monday, even as Prime minister Najib Razak travelled to a nomination centre, highlighting the political significance of the election.
Bernama news agency said candidates from Barisan Nasional, PKR and other parties started filing papers at 9am. The Election Commission said there will be as many as 228 candidates in the fray for Sarawak seats.
Marking the formal start of the 'biggest election' in Sarawak, Prime Minister Najib Razak and Sarawak chief minister Adenan Satem performed solat hajat at Masjid Darul Taqwa.
In one of the high profile contests, Satem of BN is pitted against People's Justice Party's Jazolkipli Numan.
Sarawak elections come after the chief minister dissolved the assembly on 21 April. As many as 1.14 million registered voters will cast their ballots on May 7 to elect a new government.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Najib said the opposition was in total disarray, referring to the disputes in their ranks over seat sharing.
The PM said the opposition's failure to reach a consensus over seats proved its incapability to form a steady government, Bernama reported.
"They (opposition) have already suffered an early blow and the people are happy and confident with the capability of the current government because we are always united in our pursuit," Najib said.
Revealing the discord among the opposition parties, DAP's Batu Kitang candidate Abdul Aziz Isa said on Monday PKR broke an agreement on seat allocation.
"You have to honour the agreement, but certain parties, PKR, has breached the agreement. We have no choice but to go to Batu Kitang," he said, according to the Star.
However, PKR leader in Sarawak, Baru Bian, said the party put its best foot forward to arrive at a consensus with DAP. But DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was reported to have said his party was "shortchanged" over seat allocation.
The embattled prime minister, who accompanied Sarawak chief minister to the nomination centre, vouched for a clear victory for BN in Sarawk that would shore up his sagging political fortunes.
"The Federal government will continue to support, work closely and provide funds to Sarawak so as to progress on par with the mainland," he said.
"Voters should shun the opposition because the government can ensure a bright and prosperous future for Sarawak through rapid development," he told reporters after accompanying Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem who filed his nomination for the Tanjung Datu seat at the Lundu community hall, here today."