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Malaysian PM confident of wooing back ethnic Indian voters

Putrajaya (Malaysia): Malaysian Premier Najib Razak today exuded confidence that ethnic Indian voters, who had moved away from the ruling coalition in the 2008 general election, would return to its fold as a result of the measures initiated to address their concerns on issues like employment.

However, he was not forthcoming on the possibility of an early election, neither confirming nor denying speculation that he may seek an early mandate.

But, he did point out that the government has a prerogative to decide on when to call an election while expressing confidence that the crucial support of ethnic Indians, that stood eroded in the 2008 polls, would return to the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

Najib, who had fueled the talk of an early election last week by announcing his government`s plans to repeal the tough Internal Security Act (ISA), also said it was time for Malaysia to go through a "total transformation", towards a "modern and functioning democracy" balanced with safeguards.

Asked to comment on speculation that he might call for early elections, he just said calculations were involved in such decisions and the government had enough time till 2013.

"We have a Westminster system like in India, where the government of the day has a prerogative to decide (when to call election)," he told a group of visiting Indian journalists here during a meeting.

"You have to look at the landscape to decide about it.

Those are the things that will be in calculation, we still have time for 2013," he said, adding in a lighter vein that "in India you also look at the stars".

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