Monday 27 May 2013



KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia’s divisive election has left a bitter taste for millions of people that risks creating a long-term problem of legitimacy for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

The outrage was clear at a busy intersection across from one of Kuala Lumpur’s fanciest shopping malls, where a huge poster of Najib and his deputy had been defaced — a rare display of public disrespect in the Southeast Asian nation.

One of the scrawled comments poked fun at the unconvincing share of the votes won by Najib’s ruling coalition in its May 5 election victory: “47 percent PM,” it said.

“If you don’t like it, you can leave,” mocked another, alluding to a comment by Najib’s new Home Minister that those unhappy with the result — and the electoral system that produced it — should pack up and emigrate.

The tense political atmosphere threatens to prolong policy uncertainty that investors hoped the polls would put to rest, as Najib braces for a possible leadership challenge and the Opposition mounts a noisy campaign to contest the result.

By securing 60 percent of parliamentary seats with less than 50 percent of the popular vote, the BN’s victory has served to expose starkly the unfairness of a gerrymandered electoral system that is also prone to cheating and bias.

That has galvanised the Opposition, led by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, into holding a series of big rallies as it refuses to accept the result and prepares legal action to challenge the outcome in nearly 30 close-run seats.

Disgruntled Malaysians have submitted over 220,000 signatures to the White House online petition page, exceeding the number required for a response from President Barack Obama.

In response, divisions have appeared in the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the main party in the ruling coalition — in power since independence from Britain in 1957.

Hardliners have urged a crackdown on dissent and blamed minority ethnic Chinese voters for deserting the ruling coalition. That has raised racial tensions in a country whose ethnic Malay majority dominates politics and enjoys special privileges to offset what its leaders see as its disadvantaged position compared to relatively wealthy ethnic Chinese.

Reformers have urged Najib to press ahead with social and economic reforms to blunt the opposition’s appeal and address the concerns of discontented young and urban voters. That includes many ethnic Malays who voted for the opposition.

“Every day Najib sees angry Malaysians on the Internet. It is not an easy thing to swallow,” said a senior government official who declined to be identified. “There are people in his cabinet asking for a crackdown and there are others asking for him to brandish his reformist side.”

The hard liners appeared to gain ground last week when police used the colonial-era Sedition Act to detain three opposition politicians and activists and charged a student with inciting unrest.

The three arrested were later released after a court rejected the Police remand order, but could still face charges.

Najib is under pressure from UMNO conservatives such as Mahathir Mohamad, who served as Prime Minister for 22 years, to show a tougher side ahead of a leadership election that could be held as early as August. At least until then, planned reforms such as steps to widen Malaysia’s tax base and reduce heavy food and fuel subsidies are likely to stay on hold.

“Najib is not in a very strong position,” Mahathir told reporters in Tokyo on Saturday, saying there was a risk that his majority could be weakened further if some ruling coalition politician defected to the opposition.

“When you are concerned about that, the focus on development, economy and all that will be affected. That is Najib’s problem.”

Fraud Claims

The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud, but Reuters interviews with 15 polling agents give an indication of why many Malaysians have lost faith in an electoral system that clearly favours the governing coalition.

A majority said that officials of the Election Commission (EC), which is part of the Prime Minister’s Department, did not follow procedures or were ill-equipped to oversee the polls.

“Some, not all, officials were not trained enough or did not have the experience to determine what was a spoiled vote,” said a counting agent in the Segamat parliamentary seat in southern Johor state, where the BN candidate won by a slim 1,200 majority with 950 votes deemed as spoiled.

“I cannot speculate on whether it was deliberate but there was quite a bit of incompetence,” said the agent, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Anwar’s three-party alliance says it has evidence that BN officials bought votes with cash and transported immigrants granted citizenship on shaky grounds to vote in areas with close races.

While its legal action, due to be filed with courts around the end of May, is unlikely to succeed, it will keep the electoral fraud issue in the spotlight for months ahead.

In Selangor state near Kuala Lumpur, a Reuters examination found at least 2,000 voters had identity cards deemed “dubious” by a commission of inquiry in Malaysia’s Borneo island state of Sabah. That commission is investigating longstanding allegations that the ruling coalition handed out citizenship for votes to immigrants.

The government denies the fraud claims, accusing the opposition of being sore losers and of trying to stir up an Arab Spring style revolt. The EC says it took a tough approach in eradicating possible fraud in the electoral rolls.

“The Opposition did not lose because of election rigging, it lost because they did not get the vote,” EC Chairman Abdul Aziz  told Reuters.

Deep concerns over the integrity of Malaysia’s elections are nothing new. The government has been shaken by huge street rallies in recent years organised by the influential BERSIH (clean) movement that has called for sweeping reforms, including a clean-up of the electoral roll and equal access to media.

After a violent police response to a 2011 rally, Najib burnished his reform credentials by rolling back some draconian security laws and introducing limited electoral reforms.

Reform Dilemma

BERSIH says those reforms did not go far enough, and is refusing to recognise the election results until it has verified hundreds of allegations of fraud in a “people’s tribunal”. It has previously highlighted instances of voters over 120 years of age and hundreds of voters living at a single address.

Likely far more influential than fraud are electoral boundaries that have been manipulated over the years to favour the BN. Pro-opposition constituencies in urban areas have up to nine times the number of voters than pro-government seats.

The opposition won just 89 seats in the 222-seat parliament, despite winning more than 51 percent of the vote.

“Najib won on malapportionment rather than his policies to eradicate corruption and reform the economy as voters felt he wasn’t sincere,” said Ooi Kee Beng, Singapore-based Deputy Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Najib, the 59-year-old son of a former Prime Minister, is unlikely to countenance deeper electoral reforms, a move that could be political suicide for the BN.

Reformists within UMNO are urging him, however, to ignore calls for a security crackdown and push ahead with steps to tackle corruption and make the ruling coalition more appealing to urban and ethnic Chinese voters who have deserted it.

“Of course the debate on whether we are truly a majority government will go on. But we can gain respect from the people,” said Saifuddin Abdullah, a prominent reformist who is a member UMNO’s Supreme Council. (REUTERS)


  1. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    IN a democracy, one cannot argue that a party which has lost the election but won the popular vote is the real winner. It is really a question of reality practised in many countries. Don't use popular vote to justify street demonstrations.

  2. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    Until today, we have yet to see any strong evidence of electoral fraud as claimed by the opposition. Let us look at this often quoted argument by the opposition that "we won by popular vote".

  3. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    From the ideology and policy direction, Barisan Nasional component parties have one direction in wanting to run the country and all respect the Federal Constitution. As for the opposition, there are four parties bound with one aim -- to topple the government.

  4. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    The position of its respective parties appears to be focused on taking Putrajaya, but then the country may end up like in Iraq. The war against former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was won by the allied forces, but without any solution for the country after the takeover.

  5. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    The opposition's individual ideology and policy directions have stark differences -- one wants hudud while the other says "over my dead body" and everyone must be equal; there is one which says so and so must become prime minister; and one which subscribes to a socialist style of government.

  6. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    Were the voters put in a state of dilemma or was it a case of "let's bring down the BN government and talk later how to govern the country"? In a democracy, the voters must be given clear information as to what will happen to the country if the opposition wins. This element of decisiveness was missing and yet the popular vote argument is used as the basis for demonstrations.

  7. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    There is no guarantee that in a democracy, popular vote can give the coveted prize of taking over the government. The argument used by the opposition pact that it won by popular vote cannot be sustained. Let us get on with our lives to develop the economy and wellbeing of the nation.

  8. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    CONGRATULATIONS Datuk Seri Najib Razak for leading Barisan Nasional to victory at the 13th General Election. His 1Malaysia is by far the best programme initiated by a prime minister. In the present world where the majority always undermine, oppress, manipulate and "kill" the minority, we have a leader from the majority promoting 1Malaysia where everyone can live as one nation. And for this, Malaysians must give him their full support.

  9. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    During the run-up to the polls, it seemed that everyone was being taken for a ride. First, the opposition leader appeared to be taking the Malays for a ride when he promised them he would be the next prime minister and will guide them to glory.

  10. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    Thank God after two general elections, the majority of the Malays did not believe him and still don't. At the 13th General Election, he again took them for a ride, when he convinced them it was okay to hold hands with DAP even if DAP questioned Malay rights and their religion openly in public.

  11. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    He then took DAP and Pas for a ride saying that he had the support of the Malays to form the next government. DAP was then told to go and get the Chinese votes by whatever means. DAP took the Chinese voters for a ride by telling them the current government was corrupt and Pakatan was the only party in the world which was corrupt-free.

  12. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    The majority of the Chinese also took BN and MCA for a ride. They graciously accepted all the money that was given to them through free dinners and government incentives, but voted for DAP. In Penang, there were billboards telling the Chinese to take whatever that was given to them, but give their votes to DAP. Just imagine what DAP has taught and preached the people and their young, to "bite the hand that feeds you".

  13. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    BN should take a good look at this scenario and review all the aid given to the people, especially those who voted against the coalition. And now that the polls are over, Pakatan is still trying to take Malaysians for a ride by claiming that the election process and results was fraudulent.

  14. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    They alleged that some 40,000 Bangladeshis were brought in to vote. But until today, their watchdogs only managed to catch 15 Bangladeshis, who were on their way to work, two Indians and a Malaysian who happened to look like a Bangladeshi. The funny thing is, this "Bangladeshi" was a PKR supporter.

  15. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    I'm wondering, now that the 40,000 Bangladeshi landed in Malaysia, what if Pakatan gave them their usual high energy talks and converted them to vote for Pakatan like they did with the Chinese. Hence, the overwhelming wins in the urban areas.

  16. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    It sounds absurb, but there are people naive enough to believe it. Pakatan is still at it -- trying to take Malaysians for another ride by requesting them to wear black to protest against the results.

  17. The Opposition has yet to present clear evidence of widespread fraud

    The mother of all rides is yet to come. The PKR number two leader has openly blasted the opposition leader and his wife. He also said he knew "secrets" about the leader which he had kept for 15 years. He should reveal the "secrets" to the public.

  18. PKR perlu tengok cermin, henti salah menyalahkan

    Mahu tidak mahu PKR harus mengakui bahawa parti itu telah mencatat rekod buruk dalam pilihan raya umum (PRU) lalu berbanding PAS dan DAP sebagai rakan di dalam Pakatan Rakyat.

    Meskipun bertanding paling banyak kerusi di peringkat Parlimen iaitu 99 kerusi, tapi PKR hanya menang 30 kerusi Parlimen. Kalah hampir 70 kerusi yang lain.

    Kini PKR bukan lagi parti yang menguasai kerusi dalam barisan pembangkang di Dewan Rakyat. Ia perlu melukut di tepi gantang dan mendapat belas ihsan khususnya DAP yang memenangi 38 kerusi Parlimen.

    PAS meskipun hanya mempunyai 21 kerusi Parlimen di dalam Dewan Rakyat, tetapi PAS menguasai jumlah kerusi yang besar di peringkat Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) dengan jumlah keseluruhan 85 kerusi DUN.

    Begitu juga DAP yang mempunyai 95 kerusi DUN di seluruh negara. PKR pula jauh ketinggalan iaitu dengan hanya mempunyai 49 kerusi DUN.

    Agak menghairankan apabila Ketua Umum PKR, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dianggap sebagai "pimpinan utama" Pakatan sebenarnya terpaksa bergantung kekuatannya kepada PAS, bahkan kepada DAP.

    Partinya sendiri menjadi parti yang lemah dalam gabungan Pakatan.

    Apabila keputusan PRU mendapati BN berjaya mendapat mandat untuk menubuhkan kerajaan, Anwar segera membuat sidang media di sebuah hotel ternama di Kuala Lumpur.

    Apa yang berlaku malam itu, Anwar menayangkan sebuah video kononnya seorang pengundi hantu ditangkap.

  19. PKR perlu tengok cermin, henti salah menyalahkan

    Video berkenaan bukanlah unik dan hanya diambil daripada sebuah Facebook yang mana sudah ramai orang mengetahui keadaan itu lebih awal, termasuklah para media.

    Dalam keadaan yang kelihatan tergesa-gesa, Anwar bersama beberapa orangnya pun mengumumkan untuk mengadakan perhimpunan yang dinamakan "Blackout 505".

    Dia perlu membuat perhimpunan itu segera dan secara bersiri untuk menutup kelemahannya yang gagal dalam misi menawan Putrajaya.

    Anwar pun meletakkan seluruh kesalahan dan cuba untuk mengambing-hitamkan Suruhajaya Pilihan Raya (SPR).

    Langkah untuk mengadakan siri perhimpunan "Blackout 505" itu tidak pula mendapat sokongan penuh daripada rakan-rakan pimpinan tertinggi PAS dan DAP.

    Ramai yang mula menyedari bahawa siri perhimpunan itu hanya untuk menutup kelemahan Anwar dan Pakatan secara umumnya di mata rakyat jelata.

  20. PKR perlu tengok cermin, henti salah menyalahkan

    Ketika menyertai pilihan raya, Pakatan dan PKR khususnya dilihat terlalu yakin atau over confident.

    Di mana-mana sahaja, Anwar menyanyikan lagu: "Tanya sama Najib, apa sebab goyang?"

    Ini bertujuan mengejek BN yang didakwa akan kehilangan Sabah. Di saat-saat genting itulah, kesepakatan Pakatan rupa-rupanya rapuh apabila banyak tempat berlaku pula pertembungan sesama sendiri.

    Hal berkenaan sedikit sebanyak digunakan BN sebagai bahan kempen demi menjejaskan peluang Pakatan di mata para pengundi seluruh negara.

    Mungkin kerana terlalu yakin dan gemar menyanyi lagu mengejek di ceramah-ceramah, maka Anwar terlupa untuk mengikat kesepakatan yang kuat di kalangan parti-parti dalam Pakatan sendiri.

    Kata-kata manis Anwar dan Timbalan Presiden, Azmin Ali yang kononnya pembahagian kerusi sesama Pakatan "sudah selesai" hanya kata-kata politik sahaja.

    Begitu juga di mana sepanjang lebih setahun Anwar aktif berkempen ke seluruh negara sebelum pilihan raya, Presiden PAS, Hadi Awang dan Penasihat DAP, Lim Kit Siang dilihat asyik goyang kaki dan tidak banyak membantu Anwar dan Pakatan.

    DAP dan PAS hanya menunggu untuk menuai hasil daripada apa yang disemai oleh Anwar dan PKR.

    Di kalangan pemimpin PKR dan aktivisnya, sikap DAP dan PAS yang suka memanipulasi mood rakyat yang diciptakan Anwar itu sudah lama terasa.

  21. PKR perlu tengok cermin, henti salah menyalahkan

    Bahkan pembahagian kerusi di peringkat DUN yang cuba dibolot PAS dan DAP di "kawasan pengundi Cina" juga menjadi rungutan ramai pemimpin PKR peringkat bawah yang tak dipedulikan pimpinan tertinggi PKR.

    Akibat terlalu yakin, mungkin dirasakan kalau diletakkan calon "selipar Jepun" sekalipun maka PKR boleh menang.

    Di ketika PAS dan DAP cuba menangguk di air keruh dan memanipulasi keadaan, Anwar pula bukan terfokus untuk memperkukuh partinya sendiri.

    Sejak pemilihan tiga tahun lalu, beliau nampaknya dalam diam-diam lebih berminat untuk menyiapkan sarana untuk anak perempuannya, Nurul Izzah Anwar agar lebih kukuh dalam PKR.

    Semua muka-muka baru yang dilantik adalah orang-orang yang boleh tunduk dan bekerjasama dengan Nurul Izzah.

  22. PKR perlu tengok cermin, henti salah menyalahkan

    Nama seperti Ketua Biro Komunikasi PKR, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad sehingga naib presiden paling muda, N Surendran adalah orang-orang Nurul Izzah. Itu belum termasuk Rafizi Ramli dan ahli Parlimen Kelana Jaya, Wong Cheng yang dilihat dapat "diikat" untuk berada bawah kem Nurul Izzah.

    Semua mereka ini kini memegang jawatan penting di peringkat pusat. Begitu juga anak saudara Anwar sendiri, Chegubard yang akhirnya dapat menjadi calon di DUN Sungai Acheh di Pulau Pinang dengan lari daripada kerusi asalnya di Rembau, Negeri Sembilan.

    Tanpa pertandingan tiga penjuru di DUN Sungai Acheh sekalipun, Chegubard tetap kalah.

    Mengatur buah politik secara senyap-senyap yang dilakukan ini sangat buruk kepada PKR sebagai sebuah "parti masa depan" seperti yang selalu dilaungkan Anwar.

    PKR seharusnya tak meniru parti-parti lain seperti Umno, MCA bahkan DAP yang sudah terikat dengan amalan nepotisme. Nampaknya hampir semua parti politik di Malaysia kini dilanda penyakit politik anak-beranak.

    Parti politik bukan milik individu. Umno bukan milik keluarga Najib Razak, Mahathir Mohamad mahupun Abdullah Badawi.

    Begitu juga PAS bukan 'syarikat' milik Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat mahupun Hadi. DAP pula bukan milik keluarga Kit Siang atau Karpal Singh. Begitu jugalah PKR bukan milik keluarga Anwar.

    Kesempatan dan sumber dana yang diperoleh oleh PKR yang mengemudi kerajaan Selangor selama lima tahun lalu gagal digunakan sepenuhnya untuk membantu negeri-negeri lain dalam usaha untuk menawan Putrajaya.

  23. PKR perlu tengok cermin, henti salah menyalahkan

    Ramai orang tahu Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim dan setiausaha politiknya, Faekah Husin dilihat mempunyai hubungan rapat dengan presiden PKR.

    Tahun lalu Khalid menyediakan dana jutaan ringgit yang diberi nama "Geran Selangorku" yang mana dipengerusikan oleh Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail sendiri.

    Sejak itu juga Anwar sudah tak mengungkit-ungkit lagi elaun seringgit yang diberikan kepadanya sebagai penasihat ekonomi kerajaan Selangor.

    Apabila fokus kepada rakyat terpesong dan mula ada yang membuat kem anak-beranak di dalam parti, maka Allah juga mempunyai rancangannya sendiri. Siapakah yang sebenarnya perlu dipersalahkan apabila Pakatan gagal ke Putrajaya?

    Keputusan pilihan raya umum lalu tentu ada hikmah yang tersembunyi dan memikirkan apa yang tidak kena dengan barisan pimpinan tertinggi PKR yang ada sekarang.

  24. Di kebanyakan negara Eropah, seseorang boleh menyatakan apa saja. Semuanya kerana menjunjung prinsip dan falsafah kebebasan bersuara. Lantas mereka mengeluarkan kenyataan yang menghina Islam, tetapi dibenarkan dan pertahankan atas alasan prinsip itu.

  25. Atas nama kebebasan bersuara juga sebuah media di Eropah menyiarkan karikatur menghina Nabi Muhammad SAW. Serta-merta berpuluh akhbar lain mengikut jejak menyiarkan karikatur itu dan tindakan mereka dipertahankan atas nama kebebasan bersuara.

  26. Begitu juga atas nama kebebasan bersuara, seseorang itu berhak menafikan apa saja. Negara Barat mempertahankan tindakan itu atas nama kebebasan bersuara. Mereka boleh menafikan kandungan Bible mereka. Mereka juga berhak menafikan kandungan al-Quran. Malah, mereka berhak menghina dan memperlekehkan al-Quran. Semua itu atas nama kebebasan bersuara ala Barat.

  27. Kebebasan bersuara bagi pembangkang adalah bersuara menyatakan sokongan kepada mereka. Jika seseorang menyatakan sokongan kepada pemerintah (atau bersifat kritikal terhadap pembangkang), itu bukan kebebasan bersuara, tetapi menjadi ‘pengkhianat’ atau sudah dibeli oleh parti memerintah”

  28. Bagaimanapun sesiapa yang menafikan peristiwa holocaust ciptaan pemimpin Nazi Jerman, Adolf Hitler ketika Perang Dunia II, dia berdepan hukuman penjara kerana perbuatan menafikan holocaust adalah perbuatan jenayah di banyak negara Eropah.

  29. Rupa-rupanya kebebasan bersuara dan kebebasan akhbar di negara Barat juga terhad. Bukan setakat terhad, mereka yang melanggarnya boleh dipenjarakan.

  30. Sesetengah mereka yang memperjuangkan kebebasan bersuara di Malaysia nampaknya membawa acuan kebebasan bersuara ala Barat ke Malaysia. Dalam keadaan sekarang, mereka yang menyatakan sokongan kepada Najib atau kerajaan akan dilontarkan dengan tohmahan, sindiran, malah maki hamun.