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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Malaysia's election scandals

Posted: 07 May 2013 01:10 AM PDT 

(Al Jazeera) - We discuss some of the vote irregularities being alleged as ruling coalition takes power for a record 13th time.

With Bridget Welsh, Nurul Izzah and Azman Ujang

One of Malaysia's most hotly contested elections has returned the ruling coalition to power. Prime Minister Najib Razak had staked his political future on strengthening his alliance's majority in Parliament.

But his standing has been weakened - and he is promising to engage in dialogue with his political opponents. That has since been rejected - with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim pressing for a rally in two days to protest against the results.

Al Jazeera's Florence Looi reported, "The narrower margin means Najib's administration has its work cut out for it. A youth leader in the coalition's dominant Umno party acknowledged that in a tweet on Monday. He wrote that the victory was only a reprieve and that a failure to deliver on the change that people want could mean the end for the National Front come the next general election"

There were two main personalities in this election, and Razak was one of them.

He has has been Malaysia's prime minister since 2009. At 23, he became the youngest member of parliament in Malaysian history and quickly rose to prominence.

He is part of a political dynasty, with his father and uncle both former prime ministers. Under his leadership, the government repealed the controversial Internal Security Act. But critics say the new laws remain repressive and still allow for abuses.

Najib also promised to reform pro-Malay policies, though many of them remain in place.

Read more and watch the video at: 


DAP happy with election results, says Karpal

Posted: 07 May 2013 12:06 AM PDT

(The Star) - While PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has every right to question the legitimacy of the 13th general election, DAP chairman Karpal Singh said his party was happy with its performance in the polls.

"If they (PKR) feel that there has been electoral fraud in some constituencies they contested in, they can reject the results in these areas," he said yesterday.

Anwar had refused to accept the outcome of the elections, claiming that there had been vote-rigging and electoral discrepancies.

Karpal also expressed satisfaction with DAP's win of 38 parliamentary seats in the polls.

"DAP has done very well, especially in Gelang Patah, where the win was unexpected," he added.

However, party adviser Lim Kit Siang, who defeated Barisan Nasional's Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman in Gelang Patah, said the party would file an election petition to reject the results in areas where it had lost by small margins.

He said the petition would be filed after a detailed analysis of the election results.

"Pakatan Rakyat will look into the constituencies found with problems of electoral fraud before taking the next step, which is necessary to ensure the results are fair and accurate," he told a press conference yesterday.

Meanwhile, PAS said it would only lodge complaints of electoral irregularities if it found "strong evidence" of fraud, said party secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali.

"We will gather feedback from the ground on claims of electoral fraud. Reports will be lodged with the Election Commission if there is strong evidence to support the claims," he added.

PAS saw its parliamentary seats reduced to 21 compared to 23 in 2008.

The party also failed to defend Kedah while it is still reeling from the shock defeats of deputy president Mohamad Sabu, vice-president Salahuddin Ayub and central committee member Datuk Husam Musa.

Mustafa said PAS accepted that "you win some and lose some".

"The reality is that the government of the day is formed by the winning side. The election results are balanced' and we accept the people's verdict.

"We did well in defending Kelantan and Selangor, and we are happy to have made inroads in Barisan strongholds.

"We nearly managed to create a repeat of the PAS takeover in Terengganu in the 1999 elections," he added.


Soi Lek urged to step down immediately

Posted: 07 May 2013 12:01 AM PDT

(The Star) - There are continued calls for MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek to resign immediately.

Sabah MCA deputy chief Datuk Paul Kong Sing Chu said as Dr Chua was also the state chief of Johor and Perak where MCA suffered massive losses in the elections, the president should resign immediately to pave way for a new party leadership.

His state counterpart, Sabah MCA secretary Kelvin Lim, said resigning was the only "honorable and appropriate" way for Dr Chua.

In a statement issued here Tuesday, Lim said he was making a personal call with a heavy heart as it was in the best interests of the party, which managed to retain only seven parliamentary and 11 state seats, its poorest performance in its history.

Padang Besar MCA division chief Datuk Loh Yon Foo told a press conference that Dr Chua should step down, saying the president had failed to deliver.

On MCA's decision not to accept any government post after failing to do better than the 2008 general election, Loh urged the some 400 members who are mostly holding positions in the various village security and development committees to step down.

An online news portal also reported that three MCA Selangor division chiefs made a similar call for Dr Chua to resign.

Tan Chong Seng (Kuala Selangor), Lee Wei Keat (Subang) and Liew Yuen Keong (Serdang) said party morale was affected after Dr Chua ceded three parliamentary and two state seats to other component parties in Barisan Nasional during the general election.

On Monday, Pagoh MCA division chief Datuk Gan Hong Su and MCA Pasir Gudang division chief Tan Cher Puk had also called for Dr Chua's resignation.

However, Taiping MCA division chief Lee Hock Tow said Dr Chua should not step down until there was a successor.

He told China Press that this was to prevent any inter-party fighting.

Dr Chua had earlier said that he would not be defending his presidency in the party's elections this year.

He said he would in the meantime work on stablising the party under "this difficult condition".


Pakatan leaders warn Najib to stop stoking fire

Posted: 06 May 2013 10:16 PM PDT

Pakatan leader are saying that Najib is blaming the Chinese in order to cover up BN's weaknesses, and their attempts to hijack the election. 

(FMT) - Pakatan Rakyat leaders came down hard on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for playing the race card to mask Barisan Nasional's poor showing in the general election.

They said that Najib was totally wrong in blaming the Chinese community for BN's losses on Sunday.

Immediately after winning a simple majority late Sunday night, Najib blamed the 'Chinese tsunami' for BN's poor showing.

BN won 133 seats while Pakatan took home 89. Apart from winning more seats, Pakatan also made major inroads in all urban areas and in all states on Sunday.

In 2008, BN won 140 of the 222 seats

Following the tone set by Najib, Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia today published a provocative headline, 'Apa lagi Cina mahu' (What else do the Chinese want), blaming the Chinese for being trapped in DAP's supposed racial politics.

Leading the charge against Najib and Utusan was Pakatan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim who said Najib should not be treating Malaysians like fools and idiots.

"Don't think we can continue with the semi-authoritarian manner in treating people like fools and idiots. Don't think the media should be treated like the manner Utusan is treating our people.

"They think the Malays are gullible and fools to consider all these politics about the Chinese, therefore you play this game," he said today at a press conference in the PKR headquarters.

He added that Najib was playing this game to cover up the electoral fraud.

"The daily just follows Umno president's direction. I'm aware that the party president's officers could dictate the newspaper's stories as I was the party's former deputy chief," he said.

Stop fanning racial sentiments

Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary general, Lim Guan Eng, also lashed out at both Najib and Utusan for blaming the Chinese over BN's loss of the popular votes to Pakatan.

"Najib is disrespectful to democracy by using the Chinese as scapegoats. He is resorting to racial politics to distract attention from BN's worst electoral performance in history," he said.

He added that Najib, if he was serious about reconciling all Malaysians, should direct Umno-owned Utusan to stop fanning racist sentiments against the Chinese community.

Lim said that Utusan Malaysia's frontpage report today was a "ferocious fascist and racist attempt to shape the results of the elections as a Chinese-vs-Malay vote".

He said many analysts have disputed this as a gross distortion of data, as this was more a urban-rural divide between Pakatan and BN.

Lim also cited former editor of the NST A Kadir Jasin and UKM Professor Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin saying that BN's weaker showing pointed to a strong wave of rejection from all Malaysians and not just from the minority Chinese.

Lim, who was sworn in as the Penang Chief Minister today, said that DAP condems Utusan for inciting racial hatred and urged everyone to stand against such irresponsible actions.

"Clearly Najib is repeating what Mahathir did in punishing the Chinese community when he had openly sought their endorsement and support in past general elections.

"If Najib follows what Mahathir has done in blaming the Chinese after elections, then Najib has shown that he just can not be trusted like Mahathir," said Lim.



Jeffrey’s groundwork gave Pakatan victory

Posted: 06 May 2013 02:17 PM PDT

STAR contested 69 seats and won only Bingkor through its leader Jeffrey Kitingan.

Luke Rintod, FMT

Sabah's maverick politician Jeffrey Kitingan, who captured the imagination of young KDM professionals across Sabah with the historic truths about the 20 points and Malaysia Agreement, and stoked their desire for change, is a sad and "baffled" man today.

His two-year long charismatic work on the ground while empowering minds about the Borneo Agenda, delivered seats to Pakatan Rakyat's PKR and DAP instead of his own political brand – State Reform Party (STAR).

The Pakatan pact won 11 seats. STAR won one. Sabah has 60 state constituencies. The Pakatan pact also won three parlaimentary seats – Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and Sandakan.

Confident STAR contested in 70 seats across the state. But only Jeffrey managed to wrest his Bingkor seat. Everyone else lost badly with many only registering votes in the hundreds and losing their deposits.

In a text message to FMT, a shocked Jeffrey said: "I was surprised at the overall results of STAR candidates…I am still baffled.

"My reading is that it has been put into the voters' mind that only BN and PR (Pakatan) can make the difference.

"Most didn't understand the strategic importance of Sabah and Sarawak as the third force."

He also blamed BN money and the uneven political playing field for STAR's candidates.

"Of course the lack of financial resources, the uneven playing field, cheating and "pengundi luar" (outside voters) continue to be BN's forte," he said.

Jeffrey himself won the Bingkor state seat with a majority of 456 in a four-cornered fight.

He chalked up 5,350 votes, beating Kennedy John Angian of BN who garnered 4,894 votes. Ahmad Shah Tambakau of PKR got 2,368 votes while the sole independent candidate Ricky Sedomon only managed to get 111 votes and lost his deposit.

The 64-year-old however again failed to unseat his elder brother Joseph Pairin in an interesting three-cornered fight for the Keningau parliamentary seat.

On his Bingkor victory, Jeffrey said: "As for Bingkor, they gave me their votes because I have always been there for them.

"They understand and support my "perjuangan" as being important to Sabah and I had a committed and effective election machinery".



‘Umno must initiate talks with PAS’

Posted: 06 May 2013 02:14 PM PDT

It is imperative for these two parties to come together and lead the way towards restoring race harmony in the country, says Penang Malay Congress. 

Hawkeye, FMT

A Malay NGO has come out in support of a proposal by a Kelantan Umno leader that the nationalist Malay party initiates goodwill talks with PAS.

The talks can be held under the name of the national reconciliation proposed initiative by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, said Penang Malay Congress president Rahmad Isahak.

"This is something which should be pursued as it is clear from the results of the 13th general election that the non-Malays have rejected Umno and to a degree PAS," said Rahmad.

PAS may not be have been rejected outright because it contested under the Pakatan banner, but the non-Malays are uneasy over its struggle for an Islamic state.

However, it is clear that after evaluating the outcome of the election, Umno is struggling with the non-Malay vote, said Rahmad.

MCA and Gerakan, the main Chinese components parties of Umno-led Barisan Nasional, were almost wiped out in the polls.

Rahmad said it is no longer a consideration but a must for PAS and Umno to come together and study the option of pursuing goodwill arrangement between the two parties.

For two decades, since the expulsion of Anwar Ibrahim from Umno, the Malay political voice has nosedived in certain states and because their leaders are at loggerheads, he added.

"This must change if the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's mooted idea of national reconciliation is to take place," Rahmad.

Malays rejected by their own community

In Penang for example, the Malay ground continues to side with Umno despite the presence of PKR and PAS as alternatives.

"Racial ties are polarised. Malays are hestitant participants in a DAP-led state government while Pakatan's Malay leaders have been rejected by their own community," said Rahmad.



Next battle: Staying on as party president

Posted: 06 May 2013 12:15 PM PDT 

(ST) - EVEN as the dust settles from his victorious battle against Malaysia's galvanised opposition, Prime Minister Najib Razak might be heading for another fight - convincing warlords in his own party to keep him on as chief.

Umno is scheduled to hold its internal elections, held every three years, before the end of this year.

Some expect the Umno president to face a challenge from his deputy then.

Datuk Seri Najib's performance in the general election will be the main yardstick used by Umno leaders to decide whether to let the 59-year-old continue as president, or to allow Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, 66, to mount a challenge.

The Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition won 133 parliamentary seats on Sunday, with the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) getting 89. In the previous general election, BN had won 140 seats.

So yes, under Mr Najib, the 13-party ruling coalition had won back Kedah and kept Perak. The latter was taken from PR a year after the 2008 election as a result of defections by several assemblymen; Mr Najib has now secured a mandate to keep it.

But were Sunday's results good enough? Analysts have mixed views.

"I don't think 133 is a bad number under the current state of politics," said Associate Professor Sivamurugan Pandian from Malaysia Science University in Penang. "He has won his mandate to do things his own way and to utilise his mandate."

Still, the murmurs in Umno about the looming leadership challenge to Mr Najib will not go away.

After all, he fell short of his own target of getting a two-thirds majority in the federal Parliament. And he did not win back Malaysia's wealthiest state Selangor, despite appointing himself as state election director.

What's more, conservative elements within Umno have long been unhappy with Mr Najib's assiduous wooing of the minority Chinese voters, including raising funding to Chinese schools and recognising the degrees of overseas Chinese universities.

Read more at: 


'Still work to be done', but next step is unclear

Posted: 06 May 2013 12:10 PM PDT 

(ST) - Just what his next step is is unclear, but he has called on supporters to rally tomorrow evening at a stadium outside Kuala Lumpur against electoral fraud.

BEFORE the elections, Malaysia's tireless opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said this was his best shot to wrest Putrajaya from the ruling coalition.

If he failed to topple the Barisan Nasional (BN), he said, it would also be his last.

But after the fiercely contested elections on Sunday saw the BN re-elected with a small erosion in its majority, he has had a change of heart.

Datuk Seri Anwar, who disputes the results and is alleging fraud, told the Malaysian online news portal Malaysiakini yesterday that there was still work to be done.

"This is maybe the worst-conducted elections we ever had," he said.

Just what his next step is is unclear, but he has called on supporters to rally tomorrow evening at a stadium outside Kuala Lumpur against electoral fraud.

Mr Anwar's Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance strengthened its presence markedly in Parliament, but it was not enough to oust the ruling BN coalition. It won 89 seats, up from 82 in 2008. The main winner in the alliance was the Democratic Action Party (DAP), which won 38 parliamentary seats this time, up from 28 before.

Both Mr Anwar's own Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) finished with fewer seats - PKR now has 30 MPs, one less than before, and PAS has 21, two fewer than before.

At state level too, PR improved significantly by winning 230 seats, up from 197 in 2008, but it lost control of the Kedah state government and managed to retain only Penang, Kelantan and Selangor.

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