STORY: Ismail's ruling Barisan coalition and another bloc led by Muhyiddin are other leading contenders. Muhyiddin's alliance was a junior partner in Ismail's coalition government, and the two could come together again to block veteran opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
The alliance led by Anwar is forecast to take the most seats in parliament but fail to reach the majority needed to form a government.
Malaysia's 21.1 million eligible voters, including 6 million new ones, will choose 222 lawmakers for the lower house of parliament. The race was fluid, with opinion polls showing significant numbers of undecided voters in the days before the vote.