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A year ago, Malaysian land surveyor Muhammad Nur Aliff had high hopes that a shock election victory by 93-year-old Mahathir Mohamad could be the catalyst for reform and revival in a country hobbled by sky-high public debt and corruption.

But polls show that such optimism has been steadily eroded since the election upset, in which the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) was removed from power for the first time in 60 years and replaced by Mahathir and the patchwork Pakatan Harapan coalition.

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