Tuesday, Malaysians voted in key by-elections for one parliamentary and two state assembly seats that are seen as a test for new Premier Najib Tun Razak's popularity, reports say.

The by-elections are being held for one parliamentary constituency in Perak state and two state assembly seats in Sarawak and Kedah. Both the Barisan Nasional and opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) party fielded ethnic Indian candidates for the Bukit Selambu assembly seat in Kedah state.

The ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, had fared badly in last year's March general elections led by the then premier Abdullah Badawi. He agreed to step down after his UMNO party lost its two-thirds seats in parliament and hung on to power with a slim majority.

However, the results will not change the balance of power, but are being seen as a test of popularity of Najib, who took over as premier only four days ago.

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