News / Asia

Malaysia's Anwar Vows to Challenge Election Results

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim gestures during a news conference at his party's headquarters in Petaling Jaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, May 7, 2013.
Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim gestures during a news conference at his party's headquarters in Petaling Jaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, May 7, 2013.
VOA News
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is vowing to stay in his post and lead a campaign challenging the results of an election that delivered his coalition a controversial defeat.

Final results show the ex-deputy prime minister's three-party Pakatan Rakyat coalition won just 89 of 222 parliament seats, despite capturing the popular vote during Sunday's polls.

Anwar Ibrahim told a news conference at his party's headquarters Tuesday that he continues to receive reports of fraud and manipulation by Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling National Front coalition.

"As of today, we continue to receive information that hundreds of police reports have been lodged across the country for the failure. It is therefore a dictate of our conscience to reject the election result until it is rectified and a reasonable justification is provided by the [election commission]," he said.

  • 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.

Although the ruling bloc was able to win the most 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 independence from Britain in 1957.

Before the vote, the 56-year-old Ibrahim had promised to retire from politics if the opposition lost.

The opposition campaign centered on allegations of ruling party arrogance, abuse of public funds and racial discrimination by the government against the country's sizeable ethnic Chinese population.

Numerous 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.

Prime Minister Razak again firmly dismisses the charges on Tuesday.

"There were rumors and stories being created, like we brought in Bangladeshi workers to vote in the elections," he said. "First, there is no evidence that it is true. Until today we haven't received anything. Secondly, according to this logic, to fly in 40,000 Bangladeshi workers with a Jumbo 747, which is only enough for 400 people, we would need to use at least 100 aircraft."

Despite the objections, Prime Minister Razak was sworn in Monday.

The United States recognizes the election result, calling it the "most competitive" in the country's history. But the State Department says it is aware of concerns about voting irregularities and notes that opposition parties faced significant restrictions on access to the media.

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