News / Asia

Malaysian Opposition Cries Foul after Ruling Coalition Keeps Power

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak celebrates after winning the elections at his party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, early May 6, 2013.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak celebrates after winning the elections at his party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, early May 6, 2013.
Kate Lamb
After a tightly-fought national election Sunday, Malaysia’s ruling coalition Barisan National has won a mandate to continue its 56-year rule. But opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has refused to accept the results, decrying the poll as fraudulent and rigged.

Counting extended into the early hours of Monday morning as Malaysians eagerly awaited the results of Sunday’s tight election.

The ruling coalition Barisan National, led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, won 133 out of 222 parliament seats, while the opposition garnered 89.  It was the ruling coalition’s poorest electoral performance since independence from Britain in 1957.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has lashed out against the results.

Hours after voting closed, but before the ballots had been tallied, he announced on Twitter that the opposition had won. Under the hashtag ‘ubah’ meaning ‘change’ in Malay, Anwar urged the ruling party and the election commission not to hijack the results.

Malaysian General Elections

-222 parliamentary seats up for grabs
-More than 570 candidates
-13.2 million voters
-Barisan Nasional coalition has been in power since 1957
-Prime Minister Najib Razak leads the UMNO, the dominant party in the BN
-Anwar Ibrahim leads the three-party PR opposition alliance
After it became clear his fractious Pakatan Rakyat opposition had lost, Anwar said the integrity of the vote had been severely comprised.

“I don’t think it is fair to expect me to form a conclusion, or make a decision, based primarily on an election that we consider rather fraudulent.  And, in fact the election commission has failed in its task," he said.

As the country hit the polling booths Sunday, allegations of electoral fraud were rife. The opposition claims the government flew in 40,000 foreigners from neighboring countries, granting them illegal identity cards so they could bolster the tally for the ruling party.

Stories of Bangladeshi workers bussed into polling booths have been heavily circulated on independent news websites and Twitter.

Malaysia election, 2013Malaysia election, 2013
x
Malaysia election, 2013
Malaysia election, 2013
There was also criticism of the use of indelible ink, introduced this year to prevent double voting, but many voters claimed it was easily washed off.

Anwar has criticized the national electoral commission for failing to investigate, while Bersih, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, is also collecting evidence of alleged fraud during vote counting and tabulation.

The election commission defended the electoral process, arguing that hundreds of observers, both domestic and international, had overseen the voting process.

Emphasizing his commitment to free and fair elections, Prime Minister Najib has vehemently denied the accusations.

  • Opposition supporters wave flags as they attend a rally to protest Sunday's election results at a stadium in Kelana Jaya, Malaysia, May 8, 2013.
  • Opposition supporters attend a rally to protest Sunday's election result at a stadium in Kelana Jaya, Malaysia, May 8, 2013.
  • Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks during a rally to protest Sunday's election results at a stadium in Kelana Jaya, May 8, 2013.
  • Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak celebrates after winning elections at his party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, early May 6, 2013.
  • Supporters of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim wave flags after polls closed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 5, 2013.
  • Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim leaves a polling station with his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail after casting their votes during the general elections in Permatang Pauh, Malaysia, May 5, 2013.
  • A voter has his finger painted with indelible ink before casting his votes during the general elections in Permatang Pauh, Malaysia, May 5, 2013.
  • Voters arrive outside a polling station during the general elections in Permatang Pauh, Malaysia, May 5, 2013.

Political analyst Keith Leong said the government has not shown an urgent willingness to investigate. He said, although alleged electoral fraud has long plagued Malaysian politics, ignoring it longer will ultimately erode the government’s legitimacy.

“The fact that people are talking about it now, it’s out in the open. Well maybe not in the mainstream media but online and amongst people they are talking about it so it is clearly a problem and if the government ignores it; I mean I can’t see how they afford to ignore this for too much longer,” he said.

Malaysia saw it highest ever voter turnout this year, with 80 percent, or some 10 million registered voters heading to the ballot box.

Despite the Barisan National win, independent media reported that Najib’s coalition won only 49 percent of the overall vote - the opposition securing 51 percent.

In what he called a ‘Chinese Tsunami’ Prime Minister Najib acknowledged that many ethnic Chinese sided with the opposition Sunday, and urged for national reconciliation to address what he described as an increasingly polarized Malaysian society - divided along racial lines.

Some analysts said Malaysia’s Chinese population is unhappy with government policies that unfairly benefit ethnic Malays.

But Leong said the divides are not confined to ethnicity. “It is also increasingly amongst social class and geographical demographics in the sense that both the urban and rural areas are pulling apart not only economically but toward social attitudes, political attitudes. And this is something that we will have to address sooner or later,” he said.

The popularity of Barisan National was hardest hit in the urban centers, while the opposition struggled to achieve broad appeal in rural areas.

The ruling coalition also failed to regain its two-thirds majority in parliament, a position Prime Minister Najib was under strong pressure to achieve

As the prime minister was sworn into office Monday afternoon, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim vowed to pursue his claims.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid