News / Asia

Malaysia's Anwar Raises Voter Fraud Alarm Ahead of Poll

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is greeted by his supporters after an election campaign rally in Petaling Jaya outside Kuala Lumpur, May 1, 2013.
Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is greeted by his supporters after an election campaign rally in Petaling Jaya outside Kuala Lumpur, May 1, 2013.
Reuters
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said on Thursday that tens of thousands of "dubious'' voters may have been flown in to key states to boost the government's chances in this weekend's election, an accusation denied by the ruling coalition.

Electoral fraud is a sensitive issue in Malaysia, where a civil society movement has sprung up to demand electoral reforms in increasingly large street  protests. A narrow victory by the ruling coalition on Sunday could trigger allegations of  cheating and calls for more street protests.

Anwar said the Prime Minister's Office had been involved in arranging charter flights for voters supplied by national carrier, Malaysian Airlines. He accused the government of flying at least 40,500 individuals since April 25 on chartered flights from the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak to mainland areas.

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
While Sabah and Sarawak are government strongholds, the mainland peninsula is home to several closely contested states, such as Selangor near Kuala Lumpur which fell to the opposition in 2008.

"The timing of this surge in arrivals and its sheer size naturally raise the question of whether they have been transported here surreptitiously to vote  in favor of the National Front,'' Anwar said in an emailed statement.

A government spokesman denied the accusation. He said the flights were part of a normal "get out the vote'' campaign and had been paid for by "friends'' of the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition.

The National Front faces a resurgent opposition led by Anwar, who was finance minister in the 1990s and later jailed for six years on corruption and sodomy charges he said were trumped up. It could be the closest election since the Southeast Asian country won independence from Britain in 1957.

Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, secretary general of the United Malays National Organization, which dominates the ruling coalition, said the flights were normal  electoral practice.

"The flights in question were organized and paid for by friends of Barisan Nasional. They brought registered voters to their home districts so that they may vote in the upcoming election,'' he said in a statement.

Anwar released what he said were leaked e-mails from Malaysian Airlines officials showing the flag carrier had proposed a schedule to ferry voters and election workers in chartered planes from Sabah and Sarawak to mainland Malaysia.

Reuters has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the documents. Malaysia Airlines declined to comment.

Anwar's alliance surged to its best-ever election result in 2008, gaining support from ethnic Chinese and Indians disillusioned with race-based policies favoring majority Malays and discontent over a lack of political and economic reform.

Sabah is a key entry point for foreigners from the Philippines and Indonesia, who have fuelled a five-fold surge in Sabah's population since the early 1970s and turned it into a vote bank for the ruling coalition.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry is currently under way in Sabah to investigate allegations that immigrants were given identity cards in exchange for voting for the government under a secret plan approved by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad  in the 1980s.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid