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Malaysia PM prepares ruling party for elections

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November 28, 2012 11:02 PM EST | AP


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia's leader has warned voters that their country risks economic collapse if the opposition wins national elections that must be held by mid-2013.

Prime Minister Najib Razak opened his ruling party's annual congress Thursday with a forceful speech urging supporters to brace for what is expected to be one of Malaysia's most intensely fought elections since independence from Britain in 1957.

Najib's United Malays National Organization is determined to reverse setbacks from 2008 polls that triggered the multiethnic government coalition's worst performance in over five decades of uninterrupted rule.

Najib accused the opposition in a nationally televised speech of banking on false promises to sway voters. He predicted the national debt would soar and Malaysia would lose its economic sovereignty within three years if the opposition wins power.