Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dissolved parliament Wednesday to pave the way for snap elections which are expected to see the ruling coalition's majority eroded.
Abdullah's popularity has plummeted as the nation is beset by mounting racial tensions, unprecedented street protests, and anger over rising fuel and food prices, and high crime rates.
Announcing that the king had consented to dissolve parliament, Abdullah indicated he did not expect a repeat of the 2004 landslide when the Barisan Nasional coalition seized some 90 percent of parliamentary seats.
"2004 was a special election and it was extraordinary. I pray that BN will get at least two-thirds of the votes in the upcoming election," he told a press conference.
"I hope voters will understand the issues affecting our country objectively," he said, adding that the Election Commission would decide on the polling date.