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Malaysia's Johor polls offer a window on next general election

An UMNO win on Saturday could hasten national vote

Johor Bahru, the capital of Johor: The state is seen as a key political bellwether. (Source Photo by Reuters and Keiichiro Asahara)

JOHOR, Malaysia -- A state election in Malaysia on Saturday will test public support for the country's ruling party, and could go a long way toward determining the timing of highly anticipated federal polls.

The state of Johor, which borders Singapore, is widely seen as a crucial political barometer in Malaysia. "It cannot be denied that Johor has always been an indication of support of the entire country," Khaled Nordin, vice president of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), told Nikkei Asia. "Whichever party wins the state has the brightest chance to win the federal election."

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