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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid