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Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim


27 BN federal seats in question, says Rafizi

Posted: 12 May 2013 11:05 PM PDT

The Malaysian Insider

PKR is investigating the results of 27 federal seats that Barisan Nasional (BN) won with a razor-thin margin in Election 2013 and where electoral fraud has been reported in most of the seats, Rafizi Ramli said today.

The PKR strategy director noted that the party's #siasatPRU13 team, which he is leading, has received 237 reports from the public on vote-rigging like voters not being allowed to cast their ballots because others had already done so in their name, vote-buying, unidentified voters registered at certain house addresses, flawed indelible ink, foreigners suspected of being given ICs and subsequently voting, as well as Election Commission (EC) officials signing the Borang 14 before vote-counting or not providing copies of Borang 14 to counting agents.

"From our analysis, 27 federal seats will be investigated: Bentong, Kuala Selangor, Baram, Sungai Besar, Pasir Gudang, Labis, Machang, Ketereh, Titiwangsa, Tebrau, Bagan Serai, Kota Marudu, Beaufort, Setiawangsa, Segamat, Ledang, Balik Pulau, Kulim Bandar Bharu, Pulai, Kuala Kangsar, Muar, Pendang, Hulu Selangor, Sabak Bernam, Merbok, Pensiangan and Saratok," Rafizi (picture) told reporters at the PKR headquarters here.

"Except for Hulu Selangor and Machang, all other seats have got reports," he added, referring to reports of electoral fraud.

BN retained power in the May 5 general election with just 133 federal seats, 21 more than the 112 required to win a simple majority.

Rafizi said his team shortlisted the 27 parliamentary seats based on four criteria: a margin of victory of less than 5 per cent, spoilt votes exceeding the margin of victory, postal votes and early votes exceeding the margin of victory based on normal votes, and reports of vote-rigging.

He pointed out that in Balik Pulau, for example, his team has received photographic evidence of BN agents providing voters vouchers that could be exchanged for cash.

Rafizi said 19 of the 27 disputed seats were contested by PKR, pointing out that those hotly-contested seats were mixed seats with Malays forming between 60 and 70 per cent of the electorate.

He noted that vote-rigging would have the biggest impact in seats with slim margins of victory, saying: "Fraud can only bring in maximum 2,000, 3,000 votes."

Rafizi said his team has 67 volunteers, comprising mostly lawyers and accountants, who will record evidence from complainants this week.

"Once we go through the whole process, we'll bring up our case to the People's Tribunal," he said, referring to the tribunal set up by polls watchdog Bersih to examine evidence on electoral irregularities.

Rafizi added that election petitions would be filed by the end of the month, but said he did not expect favourable verdicts.

"The main problem is the existence of phantom voters. But as long as one has an IC and his name is in the roll, he's a legitimate voter," he said.

"What is important is creating the momentum, awareness and disgust among the people on how various methods of cheating by BN were used to skew the results," he added.

Thousands of Malaysians from various races and ages flooded recent PR rallies in Petaling Jaya, Penang and Ipoh to protest against alleged vote-rigging in Election 2013 and the legitimacy of the BN government.

Rafizi also noted today that electoral fraud was detected in federal seats won by PR like Pandan, which he himself had won, Lembah Pantai and Selayang.

Anwar vows never to surrender until GE13 results validated

Posted: 12 May 2013 10:54 PM PDT

The Malaysian Insider

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Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim vowed last night never to surrender Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) fight to ensure the pact claims its rightful place in Putrajaya, maintaining his stance that Barisan Nasional (BN) had cheated its way to victory on May 5.

The de facto PR leader, looking energetic and full of gumption as he addressed thousands of black-clad supporters at PR's third post-Election 2013 rally in Ipoh, acknowledged that it has been a week since the polls results were formally announced.

But he insisted that although Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been sworn in as prime minister and it appears to be business as usual for the ruling pact in Putrajaya, the BN chairman and Umno president was not the actual person chosen for the job.

"Umno leaders would say, 'we have the mandate so you shut up'. But I say — 'No way'. We have the mandate and we will… lawan tetap lawan (keep on fighting)," he thundered, urging the crowd to sound PR's often-used rallying cry along with him.

"Najib has been endorsed as having won… and he has been sworn in. What should we do?

"So that is why we say…. in Kelana Jaya, we amassed hundreds of thousands of people with just two days' notice… In Penang, hundreds of thousands turned up in Batu Kawan… the people's uprising.

"Why? Because the voice of the people is sacred," the prime minister hopeful continued, unabated.

"On Tuesday, we gather in Kuantan. On Wednesday in Johor. And we will not stop until justice is served in this country.

"We will not stop until the valid results are announced. Yes. We will continue and we will never surrender," he added, according to a live streaming of the event last night.

Anwar and his team in PR have insisted that the just-concluded May 5 polls were rigged, citing irregular voting patterns, suspicious handling of ballot boxes and other issues.

Claiming to have gathered sufficient evidence to back their claims, lawyers from both the DAP and PAS are mulling filing election petitions to contest the results.

PR officials say they are disputing up to 29 election results and the rallies, which began in Selangor last Wednesday, moved on to Penang on Saturday and Perak last night, will continue in Kuantan on Tuesday, followed by Johor on Wednesday.

The ruling BN pact soared to a narrow victory on May 5 with just 133 federal seats to PR's 89, significantly lower than the 140 seats it won in Election 2008.

But even more daunting for BN was that it lost the overall popular vote, garnering just under 48 per cent of the votes cast, a significant three-percentage point lower than PR's 51 per cent.

In Perak, BN fared even worse, polling just 507,123 or 45.25 per cent of the votes cast, trailing behind PR's 613,490 votes or 54.75 per cent, despite sailing to an overall victory in the silver state with 31 seats in the 59-seat assembly.

Perak PR leaders have cried foul over the results, insisting that administrative power over the state should be theirs as the majority of Perak folk had voted against BN.

In his speech earlier, Anwar also slammed senior Umno leader Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz for claiming that the Chinese community who voted against BN had been misled into thinking that a government led by PR would lead to the abolishment of Bumiputera and Malay rights.

The Permatang Pauh MP denied this, pointing to a signed agreement between all three PR parties — the DAP, PKR and PAS — which formally endorsed all provisions in the Federal Constitution, including Article 153, which touches on the special privileges of the country's dominant ethnic group.

Black 505 fever hits Ipoh with 30,000 crowd

Posted: 12 May 2013 10:31 AM PDT

Malaysiakini

Following successful Black 505 mega-rallies in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, large crowds gathered tonight in Medan Istana, Ipoh for a similar mourning against alleged electoral fraud.

Eyewitnesses contacted by Malaysiakini told of a crowd size up to 30,000, many of whom were dressed in the trademark black.

ipoh blackout 505 rally medan istana 120513"Speeches are now ongoing on stage and the crowd is about 30,000. It is peaceful andsemangat (in high spirits)," said one of the rally's participants Sandrea Ng when contacted at about 9pm.

Previous events in Kelana Jaya, Kuala Lumpur and Batu Kawan,Penang had drawn crowds of about 120,000 each, while another event is slated for Tuesday and Wednesday in Kuantan, Pahang and Johor Bahru, Johor respectively.

The rallies are protesting against alleged fraud and misconduct in last Sunday's general election.

Among the speakers slated to speak at today's event, which started at about 8pm, include PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and former Perak Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin.

IpohThe venue tonight is also just outside the PKR Perak headquarters and near the state secretariat building.

Although the police said they have not approved the rally, organisers said the authorities were not interfering with the event.

"There are police personnel around, but so far they are not giving any problems," said Teja assemblyperson Chang Lih Kang when contacted.

After Malaysia Election, Political Attacks Continue as Opposition Calls for Protests

Posted: 12 May 2013 10:24 AM PDT

The New York Times

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If there was a moment after the nail-biting national election on Sunday when Malaysians could envision a respite from five years of political turmoil, it did not last long.

Within hours of the election commission's announcement early Monday that Prime Minister Najib Razak's governing National Front coalition had won a majority in Parliament, Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader, declared that the voting was rigged, said he would contest the results and called for nationwide protests.

The prime minister's office countered that Mr. Anwar was a poor loser stirring up unrest, while the police warned that the opposition leader and dozens of other people who spoke at a protest rally in a packed soccer stadium just outside the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Wednesday night could be charged with sedition.

Such tit-for-tat exchanges between the government and the opposition were commonplace after the 2008 election and in the campaign for the vote last Sunday. But analysts say that the continuing political attacks and threats of protest this time are raising the specter of a potentially explosive showdown fueled by ethnic tensions laid bare again in the vote and longstanding animosity between Mr. Najib and Mr. Anwar.

"In a way, it's escalated things," said Simon Tay, the chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. "And with an escalation, you're not sure of what the results will be."

The election was itself something of a referendum on the ethnic-based politics that has prevailed under the National Front, which has led the country since its independence from Britain in 1957. Under that system, ethnic Malays have been given preferences in land purchases, bank loans and university admissions.

Voters were essentially given a choice between a semiauthoritarian government that has delivered economic development, albeit through ethnic-based political and economic policies, or a total change in leadership to a combative but untested opposition.

With a record 80 percent of registered voters turning out, the National Front won 133 of the 222 seats in the federal Parliament. But the tally represented a loss of seven seats compared with 2008 and, for the first time since 1969, the governing coalition took less than 50 percent of the popular vote.

While rural Malay Muslims tipped the balance to Mr. Najib, a higher-than-anticipated number of Chinese-Malaysians voted for the opposition.

Mr. Najib, 59, said at a nationally televised news conference early Monday that he was surprised by the voting pattern, which he called a "Chinese tsunami." This was repeated in comments in Malay-language newspapers that implied that Chinese voters had betrayed Mr. Najib's party, the United Malays National Organization, or UMNO, which many Chinese supported in the past.

Analysts said that Chinese voters were upset that the government had not made more progress in rolling back official preferences for ethnic Malays.

While Mr. Najib has urged national reconciliation and called ethnic-based campaign politics "unhealthy," some analysts said his "tsunami" comment only magnified the ethnic debate in Malaysia and exacerbated post-election tensions.

"The political divide in Malaysia is poisonous," said Karim Raslan, a Malaysian newspaper columnist and political observer.

The weeks before the election featured vociferous attacks in the strongly pro-government mainstream news media, in which Mr. Anwar, 65, was labeled a divisive, pro-American agent, while another senior opposition leader was rumored to be gay. (Spreading such rumors has become a not-uncommon political tactic in a country where homosexuality remains illegal.) A number of sex tapes purporting to be of opposition candidates, including Nurul Izzah Anwar, 32 — the opposition leader's daughter, who successfully defended her seat in Parliament — were anonymously posted on the Internet.

The governing coalition "hasn't learned anything from the voter backlash," Ms. Nurul said. "I foresee the continuation of gutter, racist and hate politics."

The opposition's campaign platform included allegations that the governing coalition perpetuated widespread official corruption and would expand the state affirmative action programs that favor Malay Muslims, who account for 60 percent of Malaysia's 29 million people. The government has rejected such claims.

The roots of the current dispute are also extremely personal and date back to 1998, when Mr. Anwar, who at the time was a senior UMNO leader and deputy prime minister, was ousted in an internal party struggle with Mahathir Mohamad, 87, the country's prime minister at the time. Mr. Mahathir retains significant influence within the party.

Mr. Anwar was arrested and beaten while in custody and in 1999 was sentenced to more than five years in prison on corruption and sodomy charges, which he served. The charges were later dropped, but relations with Mr. Mahathir remained fraught.

"Certainly the level of dislike, disdain, of lack of respect for each other has gone up considerably in the last 10 years or so, especially since after 2008," said Lim Teck Ghee, head of the Center for Policy Initiatives in Kuala Lumpur.

Last year, Mr. Anwar said he was "willing to forgive but not necessarily forget" his dismissal and imprisonment. Still, Mr. Lim said there remained widespread concern within UMNO that Mr. Anwar would open legal inquiries against Mr. Mahathir, Mr. Najib and other senior party officials should he ever become prime minister.

"It's not simply concern about who is the next prime minister," Mr. Lim said. "Mahathir's very afraid that if Anwar and the opposition come to power, Mahathir's place in history is going to be smeared, and I think he is fighting that very, very strongly, and this feeds into the politics of hate in the country."

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