- Malaysian elections credible, says Australia
- Deputy IGP aims guns at cyber criminals
- Anwar: Opposition acknowledges bipartisan committee of MP’s to oversee EC
- Ambiga: Unconstitutional to have Election Commission report to another committee
- Let Pakatan lead PSC for EC, opposition figures tell Najib
- Najib puts EC under bipartisan scrutiny
- Another man dies while in custody
- Unruly supporters disrupt hockey friendly
- Utusan just doing job as government paper, the Straits Times says
- Credibility of Malaysia’s mainstream newspapers at stake
Posted: 01 Jun 2013 06:04 PM PDT
(Bernama) - MELBOURNE: Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr has described the May 5 general election as "credible".
In reply to Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian newspaper on Sky TV on Sunday, on the credibility of the Malaysian Government, Carr said:
"Well, they certainly are a credible government. I rang my friend, Foreign Minister (Datuk Seri) Anifah (Aman) on Friday to congratulate him and to say (that) I looked forward to working with him in Brunei at the East Asia Summit and in other forums."
He reiterated the Australian Government's intention not to be involved in Malaysia's domestic politics.
Posted: 01 Jun 2013 03:45 PM PDT
(The Star) - Police will not hesitate to take action against those who commit crimes in the cyberworld, said Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin.
He said police will investigate each case thoroughly and if there is evidence of wrongdoing, they will move in swiftly to nab the culprits.
"Be it a cybertrooper (who post seditious content) or anyone who spreads lies online, we will get to the bottom of it ," added Mohd Bakri.
He said this when asked about a report in a Malay daily which stated that police have identified several suspects allegedly involved in the cybertrooper group called the "Red Bean Army".
The group had allegedly posted slander online as well as harassed or intimidated segments of the online community that did not support Pakatan Rakyat on some issues.
Posted: 01 Jun 2013 03:28 PM PDT
(The Star) - Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says Pakatan acknowledges the Government's effort to set up a bipartisan committee of Members of Parliament (MPs) to oversee the Election Commission (EC) to strengthen its integrity and credibility, but insists that the EC start afresh completely.
He said, EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar must first resign because of not only showing incompetence, but also complicity in alleged fraudulent incidences during the recent general election.
"You cannot therefore just sidetrack by saying now they are under parliament. It doesn't mean anything," he said after opening the refurbished Sama Gagah market in Permatang Pauh here on Sunday.
On Saturday Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the setting up of a special committee, comprising Barisan Nasional and Opposition MPs, to oversee the Election Commission.
With the move, Najib said he hoped that the impartiality of the EC would not be questioned and that the people's confidence in the commission would be strengthened.
Najib said the Government would fully co-operate with the EC to further improve the credibility of general elections in the country although the last one went without a hitch.
Bernama had quoted Najib as saying that the commission was not a government agency or department but a mechanism set up based on provisions under the Federal Constitution.
On reports about the police closing in on a cyber-trooper group called, Red Bean Army, Anwar said he saw it as a form of diverting the people's attention away from the disputes and alleged fraud in the general election process.
"These allegations about Red Bean Army against me and the DAP are without any proof, and they will subside after two weeks," he said.
The group had allegedly posted slander online as well as harassed or intimidated segments of the online community that did not support Pakatan on some issues.
Posted: 01 Jun 2013 03:11 PM PDT
(ABN News) - It is unconstitutional to have the Election Commission report to a Parliamentary Select Committee because the EC is supposed to be independent, Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan said.
She was commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's announcement this morning that to strengthen the EC's authority and credibility, the government would set up a special committee comprising Members of Parliament from the Barisan Nasional and the Opposition to oversee the commission.
"With this move, it is hoped the EC's impartiality will not be questioned and the people's confidence towards the commission is strengthened," Najib said in his congratulatory speech to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah on his birthday and investiture ceremony involving the presentation of awards and medals at Istana Negara today.
"To make the EC report to another committee is unconstitutional, because if you look at the Federal Constitution, it is supposed to be an independent body," Ambiga told Malaysiakini.
Ambiga said the EC members have equal standing to a federal court judge and putting the EC under a committee is akin to putting the judiciary under another authority.
"The EC is not a government department even though it behaves like one. It has been behaving like a government department because it is being treated like one, so the sooner everyone realises the functions and powers of the EC, the better.
"That is why Bersih holds such a high standard of accountability for the EC," said the lawyer, Malaysiakini reported.
She added that it would be better to have the EC heads removed than to announce a special committee to oversee a commission that has already lost public confidence.
Posted: 01 Jun 2013 03:00 PM PDT
(Borneo Insider) - The parliamentary select committee (PSC) to oversee the Election Commission (EC) should be led by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to eliminate any conflict of interest, opposition leaders have said.
In a bid to shore up public confidence in the institution's impartiality, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had announced yesterday that the EC would be reporting to the PSC from now on, where a panel comprising members from both sides of the political divide would help improve its credibility.
"To assure PR that this exercise has genuine intention of restoring the public's confidence in EC, it should be led by led by PR," DAP's Election Strategist Dr Ong Kian Ming (photo) told The Malaysian Insider here.
According to the director for election watchdog Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP), this is because the distrust against the EC is much more prevalent among PR leaders compared to BN leaders.
The election regulator has been accused by opposition politicians of favouring the ruling BN and even helping the 13-party coalition keep its unbroken grip on power for years, but none more so than in the recently-concluded May 5 general election.
"We've seen how for example the PSC on electoral reforms did not amount to any substantive action taken … One of the reason was because it was led by BN," he said, referring to the committee chaired by Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili from BN's Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).
PAS' central working committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad compared the situation to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in many Commonwealth countries, where it is customary for a member of the opposition party to chair the committee.
In countries that employ the committee, the PAC is usually responsible for monitoring government spending as a way to ensure accountability and transparency.
"Someone who holds an interest in a case cannot judge it," said Dzulkefly, referring to the legal maxim "nemo iudex in causa sua", which literally means "nobody should judge his own case".
According to the PAS man, such interest can be seen in the proposal to reform the "first past the post" system, which currently gives an advantage to the ruling party.
However, PKR vice-president Fuziah Salleh stressed that in order for a PR-led PSC to work, electoral reforms must first be carried out so that the EC is free, fair and independent.
The Kuantan MP also has her reservations that the move might be Najib's way to divert the public's attention from claims of electoral fraud and nullify any faults related to the EC that has been raised by PR.
Since the results of Election 2013 were made official, PR has held "Black505" rallies to protest against alleged electoral fraud even as Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders and analysts criticised the decision.
Its organiser, PKR's Datuk Johari Abdul, stressed today that the rallies will go on until all its demands are met, despite calls by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for Malaysians to accept the result.
Ong suggested today that members of the PSC should not be ministers who already have their hands full, but should be left to backbenchers instead.
Meanwhile, Dzulkefly even suggested the possibility of a non-partisan expert joining the committee, since the appointment must be made based on merit rather than by the virtue of someone being an MP.
"I suggest not confining the membership to just MPs … It can also be from academics, researchers, ex-judges," he said.
Earlier yesterday, Najib had said that he was transferring his office's responsibility of overseeing the election regulator to Parliament. The EC, formed in 1957 under the Federal Constitution, has always reported to the Prime Minister's Department.
Najib was also reported to have highlighted yesterday that the regulator is not a government department or agency but a statutory body whose members receive the same protection as Federal Court judges.
The opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has organised several rallies throughout the country after the contentious May 5 polls, accusing BN of "stealing" the election as the coalition had lost the popular vote for the first time since 1969, but still retained federal power.
BN, which garnered just under 47 per cent of the popular vote against PR's 51 per cent, won 133 seats in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat while the opposition gained 89.
Posted: 01 Jun 2013 02:46 PM PDT
A special parliamentary committee will be formed to oversee the Election Commission, says the prime minister today.
(FMT) - A special committee involving both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat parliamentarians will be tasked to oversee the Election Commission.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced this today as part of the government's reforms to the EC.
In a speech to celebrate the King's official birthday, the Najib said a special bipartisan parliamentary committee will be given oversight over the EC.
The parliamentary committee will be independent and composed of both government and opposition members, the prime minister said.
The prime minister said he hoped the move will "strengthen public confidence in the Election Commission."
The prime minister also announced a new, comprehensive integrity plan on good governance, to address issues of corruption and improve the quality of government services.
"As prime minister, I have a duty to govern on behalf of all Malaysians, whether they voted for the ruling coalition or not.
"It is so easy to take the path of blame and denial, but this will not solve any of our problems or unlock the challenges facing Malaysia.
"I understand that sections of the public want to see our election processes strengthened. I am announcing these improvements to our electoral system in the spirit of unity and national reconciliation," said Najib.
The EC has come under increased scrutiny expecially after the general election after the opposition complained that the election was marred by rampant fraud.
Posted: 01 Jun 2013 12:56 PM PDT
(NST) - Barely two weeks after a police detainee died in custody, a 43-year-old man died in a lock-up at the Tampin police station yesterday evening.
Posted: 01 Jun 2013 12:48 PM PDT
The Chinese players leaving the pitch five minutes before the end following taunts from the Ultras Malaya.
(The Star) - Unruly football fans almost caused the Malaysia-Liaoning Club hockey friendly at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday to be abandoned.
The fans, believed to be members of the Ultras Malaya Supporters Club, were on the way to watch the FA Cup semi-final second-leg match between Pahang-Johor Darul Takzim at the adjacent stadium later in the night, heckled China's Liaoning Club coach Kim Yong-soo and his players.
They also used flares and bombarded Yong-soo, who was umpiring the friendly, with foul language. The South Korean was so incensed that he confronted the fans and a fight almost broke up.
The Chinese team were on the verge of walking out of the pitch with nine minutes of the game remaining. Play was stopped for a few minutes as the Malaysian officials, particularly national assistant coach S. Arul Selvaraj, intervened and persuaded the Liaoning side to continue the match. The police were also around to prevent an ugly incident.
When the match resumed, Arul replaced Yong-soo as the umpire.
Yong-soo said that he was annoyed as foul language was used against him and his players.
"They call us names and I confronted them for using such words," added Yong-soo.
Malaysia, parading all the key players, triumphed 5-0. With the win, the Malaysians were 3-1 victors in the four-match series. They won 2-1 and 4-2 in the opening two matches but lost 4-3 on Friday.
In yesterday's match, Malaysia scored through Chua Boon Huat (fourth minute), Izwan Firdaus (30th), Faizal Saari (50th), Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim (58th) and Mohd Firhan Ashaari (60th).
The Malaysians, who are preparing for the World League semi-finals in Johor Baru from June 29-July 7, will leave for South Africa today for a four-match Test.
Posted: 01 Jun 2013 12:45 PM PDT
(TMI) - The ST said Umno and Utusan are seen as so synonymous that criticism of Utusan is taken as criticism of Umno.
Utusan's recent headlines, most notably "Apa lagi Cina mahu?" (What more do the Chinese want?), which appeared on May 7, and "Chinese tsunami", on May 8, reflected the apparent betrayal felt by many Umno members in the wake of Election 2013, Singapore's the Straits Times (ST) reported today.
However, other prominent figures who spoke to the broadsheet said it demonstrated an unnecessary racialisation of what they felt was a voting pattern more accurately explained as an urban-rural divide.
"I felt very disturbed when I saw the headline," Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Umno's former Temerloh MP, was quoted as saying. "Why were we so angry?"
"Umno did well in the 13th general election. Even though I lost, I felt thankful that Umno did better than in 2008. So why this headline?"
Utusan was once staffed by political activists fighting for independence from British rule and has long been a champion of Malay rights. But now, critics say, it has gone overboard in its defence of Umno, to the point of fomenting racism and intolerance.
Hata Wahari, an Utusan journalist for 16 years until he was fired in April 2011 for criticising the newspaper's editorial policies, told ST the daily was not so strident during prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's tenure.
"Before 2008, you would not write off Utusan as a government propaganda machine," he was quoted as saying. "But now it doesn't question the government's policies any more, it only acts as a propaganda tool for Umno and to slam the opposition."
The newspaper's defenders, however, counter that they see no difference between Utusan's defence of Umno, the country's biggest Malay party with 3.5 million members, and the sometimes incendiary commentaries in Chinese- and Tamil-language papers.
"Utusan is just doing its job as the government newspaper," said Nazrul Azizi, a management consultant in Penang. "Malays must have a channel to express their sentiments."
Posted: 01 Jun 2013 12:41 PM PDT
(TMI) - In the rural areas, the Malays hate slander. My research showed that only 18 per cent of readers will believe what was written on Anwar.
Most of Malaysia's mainstream newspapers appear to have taken a hit since the May 5 general election for perceived biased reporting, Singapore's the Straits Times (ST) said today.
The broadsheet cited the examples of Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia and MCA-owned The Star newspaper.
"Star is in a dilemma of trying to be independent and yet pressured to boost BN's image," Shaharuddin Badaruddin, a political analyst at Universiti Teknologi Mara, was quoted as saying to the ST.
The Star is the largest English-language daily in Malaysia, averaging audited sales of 290,000 copies daily between January and June last year.
Umno's network of media outlets is wide, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based Centre for Independent Journalism.
Via proxies, Umno controls Media Prima, which publishes the New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Harian Metro. It also owns the Utusan Group, which publishes Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo!
The ST said Utusan Malaysia has been accused of biased reporting for years, and its circulation has fallen from 213,000 in 2006 to between 170,000 and 180,000 last year.
It has been overtaken by Harian Metro, now the largest Malay daily — its circulation rose from 210,000 in 2006 to 394,000 last year. Analysts told the ST that younger readers are drawn to its culture and lifestyle-based content.
Once the No. 1 English-language paper, the New Straits Times saw its circulation decline sharply from 1999 to the early 2000s, going from 180,000 to as low as 80,000.
The ST said readers shunned the paper for what was perceived as lopsided reporting on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sacking as deputy prime minister in 1998 and his subsequent corruption and sodomy trial.
"In the rural areas, the Malays hate slander. My research showed that only 18 per cent of readers will believe what was written on Anwar," said Shaharuddin.
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