>> Claims of dirty tricks as voting kicked off in Malaysia's general elections on Wednesday. It's a cliffhanger vote, pitting Prime Minister Najib Razak against a resurgent opposition under veteran Mahathir Mohamad. The government and opposition say their phones were being jammed with what they called spam calls. The sheer volume of calls made it hard for them to organize their campaigns on voting day.
Officials say they made the anonymous bot attacks on targets across the political board. It's coming at the end of a race racked by claims of gerrymandering in favor of the ruling coalition and the introduction of the world's first fake news laws. The opposition says it's all meant to hobble dissent, claims that election officials and the government deny.
The run up to the vote has been the toughest so far faced by Najib.>> It has been quite vicious in the content of the personal attacks, which doesn't reflect a mature democracy.>> Najib's opponent and one time mentor, Mahathir, has waged a fierce comeback battle, as Reuters John Chalmers explains.
>> He's very well known and remembered. And he's a very polarizing figure here because he was an authoritarian figure during the 22 years that he ruled that he was the prime minister of Malaysia. But he has managed to galvanize the opposition alliance and bring them together, and under the banner of the public discontent over higher prices, over corruption.
And these are issues which have really started to kind of move the opposition's support forward.>> In the last election the ruling party lost the majority vote. Its worst performance in 60 years. But still got enough seats to rule. Polls on Tuesday showed Najib's ruling coalition losing ground in the lead up to this year's polls.
Analysts say if Najib does worse than last time, he could come under pressure to stand aside in the next election.