- The race for Malaysia
- Anwar says only fraud can stop Pakatan
- PM’s popularity dives, fake report surfaces
- Pakatan may not have it so easy in Penang
- GE13: Blatant money politics in Penang might backfire against BN
- Watchdogs on foreigners’ ‘fishy behaviour’ in GE13, says PAS
- Chatty Politicians Irk Some Malaysian Voters
- Pakatan undecided on who will be PM
- Could hudud be a reality?
- Opposition warns current government not to steal, destroy votes in Malaysian election
- Karpal: Anwar as PM, two DPMs if Pakatan takes Putrajaya
- Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim aims to seize final chance
- The wild ride of Anwar Ibrahim
- Police take Raja Petra's statement
- Pakatan: Civil servants will be punished for electoral fraud
- ‘Bomb’ explodes outside PKR HQ
Posted: 04 May 2013 12:50 AM PDT
We look at the key players and the changing political landscape ahead of the country's hotly contested election.
It is a close race in Malaysia's upcoming elections, where the vote is seen as the toughest test for the ruling coalition's 56-year grip on power in Southeast Asia's third-largest economy.
The opposition is trying to unseat the ruling National Front coalition, which - with over 50 years in power - is one of the world's longest serving governments.
This time though, the Pakatan Rakyat alliance, Malaysia's main opposition, has a real chance of winning. It says the National Front has been in power for too long, and it has promised to scrap the authoritarian style of rule and fight corruption.
This election pits two characters against each other.
Najib Razak is the current prime minister and his National Front coalition has been in power since 1957. Najib himself took over in 2009, following a disastrous election for the coalition, which lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament.
And Najib will be highlighting Malaysia's strong economic growth under his stewardship, as well as his handouts to poorer Malaysians, as a reason for re-election.
On the other side, Anwar Ibrahim is leader of the opposition and a former deputy prime minister. He was fired from office in 1998 and tried for abuse of power.
He was also cleared of a sodomy charge against an aide. Anwar was also acquitted of new allegations of sodomy last year - calling all the charges politically motivated.
Anwar is pledging to tackle government authoritarianism and corruption. He has promised to cut taxes, increase subsidies and address complaints of discrimination against minority ethnic Chinese and Indians.
Malaysia is an ethnically and religiously diverse country and this will play a big role in the upcoming elections.
Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, discusses the changing political landscape in Malaysia with guests: Yin Shao Loong, a research director at the Institut Rakyat, who is also the author of the New Malaysian essays; Bunn Nagara, a senior fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS); and Michael Vatikiotis, the Asia director at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
Watch the video at: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2013/05/20135494346808881.html
Posted: 04 May 2013 12:04 AM PDT
(FMT) - Barisan has launched an all-out blitz, with Najib showering voters with cash handouts from government coffers, as Barisan-controlled traditional media relentlessly attack Pakatan.
At a last-ditch Pakatan Rakyat campaign blitz today the Pakatan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim warned that Barisan Nasional will attempt to cheat.Anwar Ibrahim said only fraud can stop his Malaysian opposition from scoring a historic election win as the rival sides launched a last-ditch campaign blitz Saturday on the eve of a tense vote.
He added: "unless there's a major massive fraud tomorrow, that is our nightmare… we will win."
Posted: 03 May 2013 05:16 PM PDT
(FMT) - A survey reveals that Najib's popularity has dipped but a fake news report claims that it rose to 73%.
It also reported that 42% of voters surveyed agreed that the opposition pact should be given a chance to govern the country against 41% who felt that only BN should govern Malaysia.
Posted: 03 May 2013 05:14 PM PDT
(FMT) - Whether Pakatan wins Penang or not, speculations are growing that Lim may lose in Air Putih. But that's unthinkable.
Incumbent ruling coalition Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional have been conducting regular brainstorming sessions for their candidates to rectify errors, fine-tune their campaigns and outline their strategies to make a breakthrough in "difficult" areas.
Posted: 03 May 2013 05:11 PM PDT
Penang - here is how the voters in the state decided in the 12th General Election held on March 8, 2008
(fz.com) - "Duit masuk poket, undi bagi Roket"
"Penang island voters are devious. You have to remember, in the 1970s they were the ones who invented the split votes, where they voted BN for state and the Opposition for Parliament. They will take your money but they will not vote for you," said Chin.
Posted: 03 May 2013 05:06 PM PDT
(TMI) - PAS volunteers will be at specific venues across the country to spot people, especially foreigners, who behave suspiciously and might vote on Polling Day tomorrow, party vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said today.
This comes as fears over foreigners being flown in to Peninsular Malaysia to vote as phantom voters intensified in the last few days before Election 2013 despite denials by both the Election Commission (EC) and the police.
"Since the news yesterday, we have planned a strategy to monitor, and we have sent reports to our central operation centre," Salahuddin (picture)told The Malaysian Insider.
"We want to tell them, do not think that your movements and actions are not being watched," he said.
According to Salahuddin, agents from PAS and also other parties in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) are on a stakeout today, helped by information from the public.
These agents are placed at various spots, including bus stations, airports and homes but Salahuddin refused to divulge more information on these agents out of concern for their own safety.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said today that it is impossible for foreigners to vote in tomorrow's polls and police will act if it happens, amid fears of widespread electoral fraud.
Posted: 03 May 2013 04:59 PM PDT
(WSJ) - "It is annoying. And if I were a fence-sitter, I would have made up my mind not to vote for BN"
Some Malaysian voters are annoyed that political campaigns have been reaching out to them through phone calls and text messages in the push before the May 5 elections.
"I've been getting text messages containing contents and words like 'trust in BN [National Front], vote for BN' since last December," says Nichole Low, a 25-year-old attorney in Kuala Lumpur.
"It is annoying. And if I were a fence-sitter, I would have made up my mind not to vote for BN," said Ms. Low.
She's not alone in feeling some politicians and campaigns are being a bit of a pest in their voter outreach.
HY Chong said she received a phone call from a campaign worker from the Bandar Hilir district in the southern state of Malacca.
"The individual stated my name in full and said the representative for my area is Ronald Gan, deputy chief of MCA Youth. The individual also said, 'Remember to vote [for] him'," said the 26-year-old legal assistant.
"Whatever they are doing is unacceptable, ridiculous and tantamount to a breach of [citizens'] right to elect the government of the day. There is a huge distinction between campaigning and dictating," added Ms. Chong, one of 2.6 million Malaysians registered to vote for the first time.
Posted: 03 May 2013 02:50 PM PDT
Anwar Ibrahim admits that the coalition's leaders have yet to reach a consensus on the issue.
Athi Shankar, FMT
Pakatan Rakyat has yet to decide on who will be prime minister if the coalition wins the general election.
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim admitted that leaders of Pakatan leaders have yet to reach a consensus on the issue.
However, he claimed that PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has endorsed a letter from world renowned Muslim scholar Yusuf al Qaradawi of Eypt supporting him [Anwar] to be the prime minister.
He claimed that Nik Aziz had launched and endorsed Yusuf's three-page letter several days ago during a PAS election talk in Pokok Sena, Kedah.
Anwar claimed in his letter, Yusuf had also called on Malaysians to support Pakatan to form the next federal government.
"Pakatan has not reached a consensus on the position of prime minister. We wanted to focus on the election instead and decide on the issue later," he told a press conference here today.
Also present was PKR president and Anwar's wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Anwar disclosure that Pakatan has not reached a consensus is a surprise given that DAP has put election billboards announcing Anwar as the coalition's prime minister.
Posted: 03 May 2013 12:25 PM PDT
(The Nut Graph) - ACCORDING to MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, Malaysia has much to fear if the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) takes power federally.
Chief among his many worries is PAS's avowed agenda to establish an Islamic state and impose hudud. The Barisan Nasional (BN) has also run a series of advertisements demonising PAS over the hudud issue and imploring Malaysians to "vote wisely".
Read more at: http://www.thenutgraph.com/could-hudud-be-a-reality/
Posted: 03 May 2013 11:45 AM PDT
Anwar Ibrahim believes Malaysia will see a revolution this weekend. The only question in his mind is whether it will be achieved through the ballot box or via street protests.
With just days to go before Sunday's too-close-to-call election, the charismatic leader of Malaysia's opposition was buoyed by polls showing his People's Alliance coalition has pulled even with, or slightly ahead, of the long-ruling National Front bloc headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Mr. Anwar warned the government could face the "wrath of the people" if it somehow kept the People's Alliance from winning the election. "In a clear case of manipulation, of stealing, I'm sure you can expect the wrath of the people," he said in a telephone interview.
Malaysia, a country of 28 million people, is often hailed as a success story, having blended moderate Islam with Chinese, Indian and Western values while becoming one of the leading economies in Southeast Asia. But critics see a quietly authoritarian state, where the media, courts and security services are all controlled by a variation of the same ruling party since it gained independence in 1957.
What's clear is that Sunday's election will be mark the first time Malaysian voters will go to the polls without knowing the winner in advance. Much of that is due to a mass of younger, first-time voters inspired by Mr. Anwar's battle cry of "Reformasi!"
A win would mark a long-awaited personal triumph for Mr. Anwar, who has been a thorn in the government's side since he was dumped from the deputy prime minister's post in 1998. Along the way, the 65-year-old has survived a relentless smear campaign, including six years in jail on sodomy charges he says were trumped up and of which he was later acquitted.
Mr. Anwar says he's certain his coalition – which is pledging to end policies that favour the country's ethnic Malay majority and to eliminate official corruption – would win a fairly held election. But he says he's already seen evidence that Mr. Najib's government doesn't intend to play by the rules.
"Our 'Malaysian Spring' and awakening will be translated through the ballot box. We warn the National Front that they should not destroy and steal the elections," Mr. Anwar said between campaign rallies in the northern state of Perak on Thursday.
Mr. Najib, who is contesting his first election as party leader, is running on a record of sound economic management: Malaysia's economy has grown steadily since he inherited office in 2009, including an admirable 5.6-per-cent pace last year.
Mr. Anwar's supporters say the opposition was prevented from monitoring advance polling that allowed 272,000 army personnel to cast their ballots ahead of Sunday's vote. They're also worried that the supposedly indelible ink, into which voters are supposed to dip a finger to prevent them from casting multiple ballots, actually disappears in a matter of hours.
Speaking to The Globe and Mail, Mr. Anwar also accused the National Front of flying plane-loads of supporters from safely pro-government areas into hotly contested regions, where a few extra votes could decide who wins parliamentary seats. He also claimed the government was handing out Malaysian identification cards to foreign workers on the condition they vote for the National Front. The National Front has denied all of Mr. Anwar's accusations.
Pollsters say the ruling coalition is in jeopardy because of growing dissatisfaction among the country's Chinese and Indian minorities, with affirmative-action policies that guarantee ethnic Malays preferential access to schools, civil-service jobs and government contracts. The policies are credited with lifting the Malay majority out of poverty and creating a wealthy Malay middle class, but they have also inspired an exodus of Chinese entrepreneurs to neighbouring Singapore, which is seen as more meritocratic.
The most recent survey conducted by the University of Malaya's Centre of Democracy and Elections found that 43 per cent of voters believed Mr. Anwar was prepared to be prime minister, compared to 39 per cent for Mr. Najib.
Many young voters, including young Malay voters – who get their news primarily from the Internet, rather than government-controlled media – are also turned off by allegations of corruption and cronyism within the National Front.
"This is a more demanding electorate. They're looking for more freedoms – to express themselves and to organize," said Ibrahim Suffian, director of the Merdeka Centre, an independent polling company based in Kuala Lumpur.
But Mr. Ibrahim said that older voters, many of whom personally experienced the race riots that left hundreds dead after a disputed election in 1969, still value the stability and economic growth delivered by the National Front. "The [pro-] government vote is predominantly rural, low-income and resides in areas with lower Internet connectivity."
As polls began showing the opposition had a chance of winning, Mr. Najib began reminding voters of the 1969 violence, hinting that chaos could follow a win for Mr. Anwar. There has already been a spate of minor election-related violence, targeting both supporters of the ruling party and the opposition.
"Certain politicians are talking about change, but what is it you want to change?" Mr. Najib asked at a recent campaign rally. "Do you want to change from peace and harmony to a country full of conflict and violence? Do you want to change the economic success that we have achieved?"
Posted: 03 May 2013 11:35 AM PDT
(Malaysian Digest) - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be Malaysia's seventh prime minister while PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Lim Kit Siang will share honors as his deputies if Pakatan Rakyat seizes Putrajaya on Sunday, the DAP's Karpal Singh proposed last night before a big crowd in Penang.
"Of course the man who is fit to be prime minister of this country, we in DAP propose and support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Malaysia's seventh prime minister.
Posted: 03 May 2013 11:15 AM PDT
(The Telegraph) - But some within the opposition fear that even if defeated the National Front - which has close ties to the military - may not give up power.
It would be a remarkable comeback for the 65-year-old, who has twice been imprisoned on sodomy charges, beaten while in custody and twice exonerated and who is now facing the fight of his political life.
If history were the only guide, the National Front (Barisan Nasional) would succeed in clinging on to govern for another five years. It has ruled Malaysia with an iron fist since independence from Britain in 1957.
But after unprecedented gains in the 2008 election, where the People's Pact (Pakatan Rakyat) was victorious in five of the nation's 12 states, Mr Anwar genuinely believes this is his moment.
An independent poll released on Friday for the first time backed up that optimism, showing the People's Pact leading the National Front by 42 per cent to 41 per cent, with 17 per cent undecided.
Mr Anwar's campaign, which has used online blogs and social media to circumvent the country's lack of a free press, is based around his call for "ubah" (change) from the pro-ethnic Malay policies of the National Front.
This time round, 2.6 million new voters have registered, out of a total of 13.3 million – many of them young, hopeful, ethnically diverse and Twitter-savvy.
"This is our best chance," Mr Anwar told The Daily Telegraph. "There has been a huge upsurge in anti-establishment feeling since 2008. It is not just among the youth, but people in rural areas too are very enthusiastic – particularly in Johor and East Malaysia. I am very optimistic we can win, there is a big surge of hope in the country."
But some within the opposition fear that even if defeated the National Front - which has close ties to the military - may not give up power.
The People's Pact claims that the National Front has flown more than 40,000 voters, whose credentials are suspect, from the government strongholds of Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo to the mainland, where several seats are being fiercely contested.
Mr Anwar outlined three concerns, "the fact that 15 flights a day are flying thousands of voters in to the mainland, whether the indelible ink used in postal voting is actually indelible and the fact that we have had no media coverage – not one minute of airtime on state TV."
The office of the prime minister, Najib Razak, 59, has strongly denied "any involvement in these flights".
Mr Anwar added: "Obviously, there is severe concern that there could be problems on election day itself, such as tampering with ballots," though he noted that Mr Najib has promised a peaceful transition if he loses.
Mr Najib is relying on Malaysia's consistent economic growth to carry him over the line. As an indicator, stocks fell 1.09 per cent after yesterday's poll.
The prime minister's promised reforms of pro-Malay policies have not materialised however, while critics state his repeal of the controversial Internal Security Act last year simply led to equally repressive laws.
In an interview with Reuters in March, Mr Najib repeatedly stressed the complexity of managing a nation whose British colonial history left it with a volatile mix of majority Malays with large minorities of ethnic Indians and economically dominant ethnic Chinese.
"The very fact that Malaysia is a success story despite the complexities in our society - why don't people give us that credit?" Mr Najib said.
Posted: 03 May 2013 11:06 AM PDT
(Al Jazeera) - "They are in a state of denial. They refuse to acknowledge endemic corruption [and] the racist agenda is continuing. Prison was no bed of roses, but it has given [me] time to reflect, meditate and be more passionate on the issue of freedom, justice and humanitarian ideas."
Anwar Ibrahim has had only three hours sleep.
In the past 12 days, Malaysia's opposition leader had criss-crossed the entire country, stumping for his coalition's candidates and driving home its message of change.
The punishing schedule has left his campaign bus in the mechanic's workshop, but with the election just days away, Anwar is still full of energy.
"It's a job for crazy people," 65-year-old Anwar chuckled on Wednesday. "It's not for the sane."
A little later, Anwar leaves his comfortable home, in an area of Kuala Lumpur known more for its scruffy wooden houses and pot-holed streets than its fancy villas, and headed west.
The four-car convoy is running behind schedule. It's no journey for the speed-shy or faint of heart.
A sizeable crowd is waiting on the muddy field where Anwar is due to speak. He's swallowed up by an enthusiastic group of supporters almost as soon as he leaves the car.
They chant "ubah", the Malay word for change, and "reformasi", reform; the clarion cries of the opposition.
With the campaign in its final stages, Anwar's three-party alliance, Pakatan Rakyat, can sense that power may finally be almost within its grasp.
Anwar is in his element. He teases the crowd, woos them, makes them laugh and cheer. It's hard to imagine he's had so little sleep.
"No power on earth can stop the power of the people," he thundered.
The audience roars in agreement.
Posted: 03 May 2013 09:07 AM PDT
(NST) - JAKARTA: MALAYSIAN police have taken a statement from Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin regarding an online article he wrote which implicated an opposition leader to the Lahad Datu intrusion.
The 63-year-old, who is now based in Manchester, United Kingdom, was questioned by at least two CID personnel from Bukit Aman police headquarters for about three hours at the Malaysian embassy here on Thursday.
He had flown in from Britain the previous day after agreeing to give his statement over the article entitled The Untold Story of the Lahad Datu Incident which based on the news portal, was uploaded on March 25.
He said he agreed to have his statement taken here due to legal and logistical reasons, after having consulted his lawyer and the police.
When met outside the embassy, Raja Petra said he was not at liberty to divulge the details of his police statement, except for the fact that it was about the article that he wrote. Asked to elaborate on his article, which spoke of two meetings between opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Moro National Liberation Front founder Nur Misuari since July 16 and Aug 4 last year, Raja Petra said he stood by his story.
He said the meetings and subsequent meetings by at least two other opposition leaders had something to do with bringing in a group of Philippine Sulus into Sabah for the purposes that was related to the elections.
"According to the information that I received from my sources is the meeting that took place was specifically to discuss for them (Sulus) coming in. And what was also discussed was the purpose of them coming in and it was in relation to the elections. I feel that there is more to this story."
Raja Petra claimed two other leaders from PKR vice-presidents and former members of parliament Tian Chua and R. Sivarasa -- also had been having meetings with people associated with the MNLF following the two first meetings involving Anwar. Observers believed that the MNLF contributed most to the forces of the so-called sultan Jamalul Kiram, who landed in Lahad Datu and Semporna, Sabah, almost three months ago.
Raja Petra's claim's echoes a recent statement on April 25 by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who said the ministry had identified three opposition leaders -- two from the peninsula and another from Sabah -- as culprits behind the armed intrusion by Sulu terrorists in Lahad Datu, Sabah.
The subsequent attacks in eastern Sabah led to the death of 10 Malaysian security personnel.
Raja Petra said there was a politically-motivated mastermind behind the Lahad Datu intrusion, and this was meant to stir sentiments of the Sulu community in Sabah.
"The question is whether the Lahad Datu incursion was an isolated incident?
"I feel there is more to this story. It can only mean that they (mastermind of incursion) want to disrupt the elections or at least fan the sentiments. If not, why bother to do this?" He said Tian Chua and Sivarasa had never denied meeting with Misuari's people, but only denied the purpose of those subsequent meetings.
"I will not deny that I wrote the article. My name is on the article.
"I named names in my article, I mentioned Anwar met Misuari (Moro National Liberation Front leader, Nur Misuari) on July 16 (2012), and then on Aug 5.
"I even mentioned the flight number and I mentioned the hotel. I mean, very specific. You cannot create a story that's very specific because flight number you can check," he said.
Posted: 03 May 2013 09:01 AM PDT
(The Star) - Civil servants, including Election Commission workers, found to have been involved in electoral fraud will face the music if Pakatan Rakyat wrests power in the general election, says PKR vice-president R. Sivarasa.
He said the move was necessary since Pakatan had claimed to have found instances of election-related offences recently.
Among them were the existence of dubious voters, new voters flown into some states and the fear that some ballot boxes could be tampered with, he added.
"If Pakatan forms the Government and we find that civil servants, including senior officials, are involved in offences including electoral fraud, you will face the full force of the law.
"Whether they are from the Election Commission or any government department, they will be punished if they were involved in indiscipline," he said at a press conference at the party's headquarters here yesterday.
On claims that the Barisan had flown in Malaysians and foreigners into the peninsula to vote in Sunday's polls, Sivarasa said Pakatan would release more evidence of the claims today.
Posted: 03 May 2013 08:42 AM PDT
A homemade explosive went off near a TNB feeder pillar some 40 metres away from the PKR HQ.
(FMT) - A homemade bomb exploded some 40 metres from the PKR headquarters in Tropicana several hours after improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were discovered in DAP offices in Kepong and Puchong.
A police source said the small explosive device went off near a TNB feeder pillar along Jalan Merchant Square at around 10pm last night.
"It was a minor explosion, there were no injuries or serious damage. It was a homemade explosive," he added.
A police bomb disposal unit and forensics team were also dispatched to the scene.
PKR leaders could not be reached for comment.
Yesterday evening, the police bomb squad detonated an explosive device found at the Puchong DAP office.
Earlier in the day, the police also detonated three explosive devices after removing them from a DAP election campaign site in Jinjang Utara, Kepong.
The devices were packed in a box with a warning: "Awas. Bom" (Caution: Bomb).
No arrests have been made so far.
Dubbed as the mother of all elections, the run-up to GE 13 is witnessing an escalation in violence, prompting leaders of both coalitions to appeal for calm.
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