News / Asia

    Malaysians Defy Police, Rally Against Election Loss

    Demonstrators attend a rally in protest of Sunday's election result at a stadium in Kelana Jaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, May 8, 2013.
    Demonstrators attend a rally in protest of Sunday's election result at a stadium in Kelana Jaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, May 8, 2013.
    VOA News
    Tens of thousands of Malaysian opposition supporters rallied late Wednesday to protest what they say are fraud-marred election results that enabled the long-ruling coalition to remain in power.

    Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim called the rally, which filled a sports stadium outside Kuala Lumpur, despite threats by Malaysian police to arrest anyone who attended.

    National police chief Ismail Omar had warned earlier that the protest was illegal because Anwar did not apply for a government permit.

    Malaysia's Peaceful Assembly Act tightly regulates protests and public gatherings, and requires organizers to receive advance permission for rallies.  Anwar, an ex-deputy prime minister, has said the law is an undemocratic assault on free speech.

    Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (R) reads his oath declaration as he is sworn in for his second term as prime minister, May 6, 2013.Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (R) reads his oath declaration as he is sworn in for his second term as prime minister, May 6, 2013.
    x
    Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (R) reads his oath declaration as he is sworn in for his second term as prime minister, May 6, 2013.
    Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (R) reads his oath declaration as he is sworn in for his second term as prime minister, May 6, 2013.
    Supporters followed his directive to wear black T-shirts to the protest with "050513" to mark the date of the poll won by Prime Minister Najib Razak's coalition.  He said it is the beginning of a "fierce movement" to challenge the vote and reform Malaysia's electoral system.

    Final results from Sunday's election show the National Front coalition captured a large majority of the seats, despite losing the popular vote for the first time in 44 years.

    Tian Chua, vice president of the opposition People's Justice Party, says he rejects the notion that the Wednesday protest is illegal.

    "There are no issues about objections from the stadium owner, so this cannot be interpreted as a threat to public order. I think the police are probably just following the instructions of the newly sworn-in prime minister, Najib Razak," said Tian Chua. "I don't think the police are expressing a position that is legally valid."

    Tian says his coalition will continue the fight to challenge the election results, saying that the government of Prime Minister Najib has lost its legitimacy.

    "The results of the poll clearly show that the majority of the people reject his leadership," he said. "At the same time, there are so many eyewitnesses who can testify to massive fraud in various seats."

    • 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.

    Rumors of cheating plagued the polls, including the use of ink to mark voters that critics say could be easily washed off. There also were complaints of foreigners being flown into the country to cast ballots.

    A group of independent observers on Wednesday gave a mixed verdict. The report by the Center for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) and the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) noted a pro-government media bias, a lack of transparency in campaign spending, and the unequal organization of voting constituencies.

    But one of the observers, Ramon Navarathnam of CPPS, said the election generally represented the will of the Malaysian people.

    "There could have been some little discrepancy which could have, might have, affected the results in very marginal seats. I'm not saying it did, but could. But overall that's what's important, it's captured the spirits and the will of the people of Malaysia," said Navarathnam.

    Razak, who was sworn in on Monday, has firmly dismissed the fraud charges, insisting that the results were in line with opinion polls that suggested his coalition was likely to win. The U.S. has also recognized the results.

    Although the ruling bloc was able to win 133 of the 222 available seats and extend its 56-year rule, it only received 48 percent of the popular vote, compared to 52 percent for the opposition. It is the coalition’s poorest electoral performance since Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jonathan Yeo from: Malaysia
    May 08, 2013 3:00 PM
    Tonight, what I have spectated is true unity among Malaysians. There was no race, there was only one voice among the thousands of people in the crowd. I cried because i could not join them where they are when they sang "Negaraku". I cried because all I can do is watch as everyone was so united as one.

    Who said we are divided? Who said we are breaking up the people? Who said we steering the country into ruin? I do not belief that the spirit we have here has any trace of ill towards our country. We want a better Malaysia, we want it to out do any other country so that we may all benefit in the future.

    We are Malaysians, I am proud of all who call themselves that. Whatever the news says about racial divide and polarization, its all nonsense. I saw true Malaysians today, people who stood together as one.

    We are strong, we are Malaysians.

    http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/229553

    No permit is needed as long as the police are informed of the gathering.

    by: linda ooi from: msia
    May 08, 2013 12:48 PM
    On behalf of many malaysians,I urge internationals to not simply comment on what's considered the most important matter to us as of a country.

    1)police have said that the rally is indeed legal
    2) the rally is not of a political purpose,but a token of us defending our democratic rights and at odds with the federal government and Electoral Commission committing electoral fraud.Hard evidence everywhere.Seehttp://www.barubian.net/2013/05/allegations-of-election-fraud-as.html

    3)about a 100,000 attended the peaceful rally

    This has been by far the filthiest election in this country

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.