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Malaysia in transition

Malaysia's UMNO assembly amps up pressure on PM to call election

'How long do we want to wait?' emboldened ruling party chief tells delegates

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, center, and Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin mingle with delegates at UMNO's general assembly on March 18. (Photo by P Prem Kumar)

KUALA LUMPUR -- The leadership of Malaysia's ruling party on Friday cranked up pressure on its own prime minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, publicly urging him to call an early election within this year.

The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is riding high after convincing victories in local elections, despite a reputation stained by the 1MDB embezzlement scandal. Key figures, including party President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, want to carry the momentum into national polls.

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