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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 April 2007, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Ruling party wins Malaysia vote
By Jonathan Kent
BBC News, Kuala Lumpur

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Ijok, Malaysia
Around 10,000 voters in the electorate cast ballots
A key by-election in Malaysia has been won by the government.

The National Front coalition increased its majority in a contest thought to be the final test of public opinion before a general election.

The opposition People's Justice Party of the former deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, has alleged that the poll was marred by irregularities

But the government has denied charges of fraud, saying the allegations were "tired and predictable".

This campaign marked Anwar Ibrahim's return to frontline politics.

Tense atmosphere

The People's Justice Party, led by his wife, had fielded a strong candidate. Mr Anwar had spent several days wooing the 12,000 voters of the little district of Ijok outside the capital.

Malaysia's former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim. File photo
Mr Anwar's Party claimed there had been fraud

The opposition hoped to deliver a blow that would shake the government's confidence ahead of a possible general election late this year. But it did not happen.

Amid a tense atmosphere and with riot police separating rival supporters, Ijok recorded its highest ever turnout.

Both sides increased their tally but the government's majority rose slightly to 1,850 out of 10,000 votes cast.

A vice president of Mr Anwar's Party told the BBC there had been fraud.

Tian Chua claimed that in just three years 1,000 voters had vanished from the electoral list while 1,700 names had been added.

A government spokesman called his allegations tired and predictable.

Meanwhile Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister called on his opponents to respect the law and democracy complaining they had prevented him from visiting certain areas.

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