Report: Ex-leader Mahathir calls for protest vote against government misconduct
Mahathir, who has embarked on a campaign since last year against alleged corruption and cronyism by his successor Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said voters must not blindly support the ruling National Front coalition.
"Unless you send a signal to the government that, 'Look, if you don't behave yourself, you may not get my vote at the next election,' then the government will say, 'You see? The people are voting for us. We are doing well,'" he told independent news Web site Malaysiakini.
"If you vote (National Front) because you get a lot of money or because you get a lot of projects, you may get a rotten government," he warned.
Mahathir and his aides could not be reached for comments.
Mahathir, 81, who stepped down in late 2003 after 22 years in power, last year accused Abdullah of corruption, mismanaging the economy and compromising
The vitriolic attacks by Mahathir had shocked the nation given that he hand-picked Abdullah as his successor. Abdullah has denied the allegations.
Saturday's by-election to pick a new state legislator in Ijok in central Selangor state will give an indication of support for the National Front and Abdullah, ahead of general elections that may be held late this year or in early 2008.
The ruling coalition is being challenged by the People's Justice Party, led by the wife of opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim.
State officials have announced that 36 million ringgit (US$10 million; €7.4 million) will soon be spent to improve roads and public infrastructure in Ijok, a sleepy district comprising mostly palm oil and rubber plantations. AP