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Malaysia in transition

Malaysia's scandal-tarnished UMNO poised to retake PM's office

Ismail Sabri Yaakob appears to have majority, effectively undoing 2018 election

Malaysian prime minister candidate Ismail Sabri Yaakob waves from a bus on his way to an audience with the king on Aug. 19.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- The Malaysian political party that lost the 2018 election under a cloud of corruption suspicion is poised to regain power, as the search for the country's next prime minister appears to be nearing a conclusion.

The leading candidate is former Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, a veteran of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). He is believed to have the support of 114 lawmakers -- enough for a majority. But while he may have the edge on opposition hopeful Anwar Ibrahim, the prospect of his appointment is raising eyebrows.

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