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

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid