April 6, 2018 / 1:37 AM / 3 months ago

Malaysia's Najib attends cabinet meeting ahead of expected election announcement

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrived at his office in Putrajaya on Friday to chair a meeting of cabinet ministers, the state news agency Bernama reported, ahead of an expected announcement on the dissolution of parliament and election.

FILE PHOTO: Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak gestures as he speaks during a rally against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Putrajaya, Malaysia December 22, 2017. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin

Najib is under pressure to secure a stronger mandate as he grapples with a multi-billion dollar scandal at a state fund and public anger over rising living costs.

Najib’s five-year term officially ends on June 24, but the prime minister can dissolve parliament anytime before the end of his term with the king’s assent, paving the way for a general election.

He is widely expected to meet Malaysia’s king later in the day to seek consent to dissolve parliament, although there has been no official confirmation.

Najib arrived at the prime minister’s office in his official car, according to videos posted by Bernama on Twitter. Several ministers we also seen arriving at the venue.

Parliament, which on Thursday ended its last meeting before the polls, approved a plan to redraw electoral boundaries backed by Najib’s administration, an exercise that critics said would shift anti-establishment voters out of ruling party areas and into opposition-held seats.

Parliament also passed a controversial Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, which would allow prison terms of up to six years for spreading “fake news” - an expression frequently used by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Reporting by Joseph Sipalan and Praveen Menon; Editing by Michael Perry

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