Mahathir told reporters on Friday he suspected sabotage of a private plane that was to fly him from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi after the pilot discovered some damage just before take-off.
“I have warned before that there will be attempts to stop candidates from making it to the nomination center, but I didn’t think it would happen to me,” he told reporters at a news conference in Langkawi.
The government ordered an immediate investigation into the claim. Mahathir did not make a police complaint.
The opposition and critics say they are also faced with an electoral system that favors the BN coalition, compounded by a redrawing of electoral boundaries that was fast-tracked in parliament in March.
Najib’s government and the Election Commission have denied the accusations.
The nomination of at least two opposition candidates were rejected by the commission on Saturday. Senior People’s Justice Party leader Tian Chua was rejected due to a previous conviction, while another candidate’s documents were incomplete, Malaysian media reported.
Other claims, such as discrepancies in the electoral roll, have also been reported.
The Election Commission rejected a request this week by Malaysia’s national human rights body to monitor the election, claiming they had already appointed foreign observers and independent groups.
International observers from Indonesia, Thailand, the Maldives, East Timor, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan will monitor the elections.
A Wednesday polling day set by the commission was also seen as discouraging millions of Malaysians living abroad from voting. However, outraged Malaysians took to social media to offer funding and other services to help people return home to vote.
A low voter turnout was expected to allow Najib’s coalition to retain power.