PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Malaysia's Election Commission Thursday set March 8 for a general election to decide 222 parliamentary seats, as well as hundreds of state races.
Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said candidate nominations will be Feb. 24, Bernama, the state news agency, reported. He said nearly 11 million Malaysians will be eligible to cast votes, Bernama reported.
In addition to the parliamentary races, voters will decide 505 state seats in 12 states. The exception will be Sarawak, which held its state election in 2006.
The election became necessary after Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dissolved the national legislative body Wednesday. He called for the regional elections to be held at the same time.
The multi-ethnic southeast Asian country has been beset by racial tensions and crime, along with growing concerns about the economy.