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Malaysia Decides

Seven things to know about the Sedition Act

From the law’s origins to how it’s used today, here’s our easy guide to Malaysia’s Sedition Act. By Abdul Qayyum Jumadi.

1. The Sedition Act 1948 is a restraining law; it tells you what not to do. Among other things, “seditious” actions can include those that have a tendency to incite hatred towards a ruler or against any government; excite people to take over any government territory using unlawful means; bring into hatred or contempt the administration of justice in Malaysia; and promote feelings of ill-will and hostility among different races and classes.

2. It’s an archaic British law, introduced to Malaya in 1948 and amended shortly after the 1969 riots. What does this mean? It means the founding fathers of our nation did not legislate it. It was actually imported directly to become our law and was retained after Merdeka. The last prosecution for sedition in the United Kingdom was in 1972. In the UK, sedition as an offence was effectively abolished in 2010.

3. The Sedition Act applies to any act, speech, words, or publications. Under “publications”, the Act interprets it as anything written or printed or in any other manner capable of suggesting words or ideas, and every copy and reproduction or substantial reproduction of any publication. Sedition is different from defamation, which includes libel (published defamation) and slander (spoken false statement of defamation).

4. What is considered “seditious” under the Act is very wide. Section 3(1) of the Act uses the phrase “seditious tendency”. According to a Suaram report, theoretically even an article on water cuts may amount to sedition, since it could be interpreted as the tendency “to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or of the Ruler of any State or amongst the inhabitants of Malaysia or of any State.” Many have said the problem lies with the arbitrariness of determining what is actually “seditious”, making the law very political.

5. If one is found to violate the Sedition Act for the first time, the maximum term of imprisonment is three years or a fine of not more than RM5000 (or both). Oh, and if you are an “innocent receiver” of seditious materials and you consciously do not hand the materials over to the police, you may also be liable for possession of seditious materials under section 7. A lesser sentence is imposed: a fine of RM2000 or imprisonment not more than 18 months or both.

6. The wideness of the provision plus the interpretation of the courts has led the Sedition Act to become very vague. It has been used in the past to prosecute Lim Guan Eng for criticising the Attorney General over a rape case, to raid online news portal Malaysiakini and more recently to charge Adam Adli, a 24-year-old student activist who wanted to overthrow the government. The Act has also been employed in investigation of UMNO-owned newspaper Utusan and two right-wing bloggers for “racial sedition” after publishing materials seen to provoke anti-Chinese sentiment.

7. The Prime Minister has spoken of repealing the Sedition Act. Last year, he said he planned to replace it with a National Harmony Act that “will emphasise the nurturing of the spirit of harmony and mutual respect among Malaysians of various races and religions.” At the beginning of the 2013 legal year, the Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail acknowledged there will be repeal and replacement of the Act. But the Sedition Act is still here and there have been no amendments to it since July 2012.


Sedition dragnet reeks of double standard

Why were the likes of Ibrahim Ali, Zulkifli Noordin and Ridhuan Tee Abdullah allowed to roam free despite making incendiary remarks about race and religion?

KUALA LUMPUR: A MIC leader has condemned the spate of arrests under the Sedition Act and called on the authorities not to practice selective persecution.

Speaking to FMT, S Vell Paari said he was concerned to learn about the arrests of Anything But Umno (ABU) leader Haris Ibrahim, PKR vice-president Tian Chua and PAS’ Thamrin Ghaffar.

The trio were held this afternoon in connection with a forum on May 13, where a call was made to topple the Barisan Nasional government via street protests.

Vell Paari said the arrests would anger the public further as the authorities would be perceived to be practicing double standard when it comes to enforcing the Sedition Act.

“While the likes of [Perkasa leaders] Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Noordin; and academic Ridhuan Tee Abdullah are allowed to roam free despite making incendiary remarks about race and religion, these opposition figures are however swiftly hauled up.

“Even the Utusan Malaysia frontpage in the aftermath of the general election, which read ‘Apa Lagi Cina Mahu? [What more do the Chinese want], screamed sedition but our leaders chose to defend the publication,” added the MIC strategy director.

Vell Paari said this development did not bode well for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s administration.

“As it is BN suffers from a severe perception crisis and these arrests would just aggravate the situation,” he warned.

Vell Paari said while the police had the right to investigate those who called for street protests to topple the government, it should not resort to using draconian laws.

This morning, student leader Adam Adli, who also spoke at the forum together with Haris and Tian Chua, was charged under the Sedition Act. He is currently out on bail.

‘Charge home minister with sedition’

Echoing Vell Paari’s statement, Malaysian Hindu Movement president S Sanjay said the home minister should be charged with sedition for calling on Malaysians to emigrate if they were not happy with the political situation.

“Isn’t Zahid’s statement not seditious as well?” he told..

Sanjay also said that he backed the proposal to hold street demonstrations to prove that the BN government was irrelevant.

“We must hold peaceful protests similar to what Mahatma Gandhi did… and the police can charge all those who take to the streets with sedition,” he added.

Sanjay said he went on a hunger strike for eight days asking for action to be taken against Zulkifli but BN chose to field him as a candidate in the general election instead.

“What is more seditious… belittling Hindusim and calling for Bibles to be burnt or asking the people to take part in a peaceful display of passive resistance?

“Is stoking the flames of discontent towards Umno a greater crime than stoking religious and racial tension as far as the authorities are concerned? So who is the police working for?” he added.

‘Return to Mahathirism’

Talk is rife that the government’s hard stance stemmed from the appointment of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as the new home minister, who is said to be reintroducing the facets of Mahathirism.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a BN source said that he would not be surprised if former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad was pulling the strings.

“Najib was given his chance and he blew it. His electoral performance was worse than his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“So perhaps Umno is now looking to its grand wizard to set the house in order,” he told.

Mahathir, during his 22-year reign, was known to come down hard on dissidents, with the mass ISA arrest in 1987, codenamed Operasi Lalang, being a poignant example.

The former premier was also displeased when Najib decided to dismantle the ISA under his transformation agenda.

On another matter, Vell Paari said the latest custodial death involving N Darmindran re-emphasised the need for the Independent Police Misconduct and Complaints Commission (IPCMC).

“Enough is enough! This is getting out of hand. The government must form the IPCMC to weed out the rogue elements in the police force, whose credibility is next to zero.

“The police’s primary function is to protect lives, not rob them,” he added, calling on all those involved in Darmindran’s case to be suspended pending an investigation.

Source : FMT

Winner of seats, not votes

WHEN criticising laws and policies in this country, one of the stock answers that one is faced with is that the majority voted for the government in power, therefore, they are obviously happy with those said laws and policies. The majority rules after all.

I’d like to see anyone try that line of argument with me now. Not since 1969 has Malaysia had a government whom the majority of voters did not choose.

The popular vote in the 13th general election had 47% voting for Ba­risan Nasional, 51% for Pakatan Rak­yat and the remainder to Indepen­dents.

The difference in numerical terms shows Pakatan with almost 390,000 more votes than Barisan.

These numbers are almost the mirror image of figures during the 12th general election when BN won, so theoretically it should now be Pa­k­atan’s turn to govern.

Yet in GE13; Barisan lost only se­v­en seats (my calculations are based on results of the 2008 elections before the frog-like behaviour of a handful of MPs) and are thus still holding the majority of seats in parliament.

This is a weird situation of course and one that a teacher would be h­a­r­d pressed to explain to a class of nine-year-olds. Odd as it is, this is a possible outcome when one uses the first past the post system.

However, such abnormalities are usually found in political systems where there are more than two political parties or coalitions.

In those situations the possibility of votes being split are more numerous thus leading to the possibility of a government with less than 50% of the popular votes but more seats in the legislature.

In our situation, because by and large there are only two major players (the Independents and smaller parties had a minimal impact in terms of vote splitting), the popular vote should reflect the number of seats in parliament. Yet it did not.

So the question here is how can the system that we use (one used all over the world) lead to what on the face of it is an unfair result.

The answer is that although in the first past the post system the risk of a party having a majority of seats with a minority of popular votes is always there, the way to avoid such absurdities is to ensure that all the constituencies are appro­ximately t­h­­e sa­me size in terms of voter numbers. This is obviously not the case in Malaysia.

The discrepancies of voter numbers can be huge; this is particularly so when comparing the rural and urban areas with the latter having far more registered voters (although this is not necessarily the case all the time; urban Putrajaya is tiny in terms of voter numbers).

Naturally, rural areas are more sparsely populated than urban areas and therefore a certain degree of flexibility is required when delineating constituency lines. Rural areas will by sheer demographic and geographic realities have fewer voters in them.

However, the difference must not be ridiculously high. The general guideline is that a discrepancy must not be more than 15% and thus when drawing the boundaries of the constituencies, this factor ought to be considered.

This is clearly not the case. To give you an idea as to how big the discrepancies can get; the difference between Kapar (144,159 voters) and Putrajaya (15,791 voters) is just over 900%.

In effect, in the smaller constituencies, a person’s vote carries more weight than in the larger ones and it is no coincidence that the ruling coalition finds its support largely in small constituencies.

This is not a satisfactory situation but it is one that can be fixed because the moment has come for a re-delineation exercise in this country. What perfect timing.

The Election Commission (EC) is charged with the exercise although the final acceptance of their recommendations lies in the hands of parliament (and the state legislatures in the case of state seats).

This is an opportunity for the EC to do the right thing and make good recommendations.

They must if they are to recover any shred of dignity following their performance in the GE13. The fiasco with the so-called indelible ink is one example of how poorly handled things were.

The fact that the ink can be was­hed off (due to the “diluted” version used) has been attributed to the non-shaking of bottles (yes, seriously); Islamic teaching (although in India and Pakistan there appears to be no complaints about using the ink from the hundreds of millions of M­u­s­lims there); in the interest of health, apparently the ink can mess up your kidneys or give you cancer or something equally horrible (which is jolly thoughtful of the EC, but perhaps a tad paranoid and over-protective).

It was ludicrous to say that it does not matter if the ink is washable because you can only vote once with your identity card. What if someone has phantom like tendencies and has more than one identity card?

Which leads us to the EC’s terribly blasé treatment of genuine fears that phan­tom voters existed; another e­x­am­ple of them behaving in a manner that does not engender public confidence.

I am unsure if the EC will redraw the constituency boundaries in a fai­rer manner, and I am even more un­s­ure if the ruling party will accept any­thing that in their minds will be a disadvantage to their grasp on power.

What I am sure about is this country runs the risk of being a joke if something is not done to fix this. Unfortunately, it w­o­n’t be a funny joke and there is the probability of an un-amused and furious populace.

Democratic practices done properly are what ensure peace, not façade democracies which do not ultimately respect the peoples’ choice.

When will those with the responsibility and the power stop t­h­i­n­king in petty terms and realise this? When will they show that they truly care about the nation?

Malaysia’s new cabinet

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced his new Cabinet line-up on Wednesday. He retained Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as his deputy.

He said that he aimed to make his Cabinet balanced with experienced ministers, to give continuity, tecnocrats and young ministers.

*Ministers in Prime Minister's Department:

Datuk Seri Wahuib Omar (Will be appointed Senator on June 5)

Datuk Seri Idris Jala

Tan Sri Joseph Kurup

Datuk Seri Shahidan Hassim

Nancy Shukri

Datuk Joseph Entulu

Datuk Paul Lau

*Education Ministry: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

*Defence Ministry: Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein

*Home Ministry: Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi

*Youth and Sports Ministry Khairy Jamaludin

*Health Ministry Dr S. Subramaniam

Malaysia opposition holds protest at vote result

Thousands of Malaysian opposition supporters have rallied against alleged fraud in the election, defying police who said the protest was illegal.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim called the protest after what he said were "stolen" polls, won by PM Najib Razak's ruling coalition.

Mr Najib's Barisan Nasional (BN or National Front) coalition won 133 of the 222 parliamentary seats on Sunday.

It was the coalition's worst result in more than half a century in power.

While it secured a simple majority, it failed to regain the two-thirds parliamentary majority it lost for the first time in 2008.

The BN has vehemently denied the opposition's allegations of cheating and accused Mr Anwar of deliberately choosing a small stadium on the outskirts of the capital Kuala Lumpur for the rally to ensure it would spill onto the streets.

But the three-party opposition alliance - which mounted its strongest-ever challenge to the coalition - has called for a recount.

Up to 40,000 protesters, many dressed in mourning black, gathered at the demonstration to denounce the results. Participants filled the stadium's stands and spilled onto the football field.

They complain that indelible ink - meant to prevent multiple voting - could be easily washed off and that accounts abound of a government scheme to fly tens of thousands of "dubious" - and possibly foreign - voters to flood key constituencies.

The United States has also raised questions about the conduct of the election, with the White House urging the government to address concerns.

'Fierce movement'
Mr Anwar called on his supporters to gather at Kelana Jaya Stadium at 20:30 local time (12:30 GMT) on Wednesday.

Malaysia 2013 polls

Election was considered Malaysia's most keenly contested poll since independence
PM Najib Razak leads the long-dominant coalition Barisan Nasional (National Front)
Anwar Ibrahim leads the three-party opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat
Key poll issues included corruption, race-based policies that favour ethnic Malays, and the economy
Turnout was estimated at a record 80%, election officials said
In 2008, of the 222 seats in parliament the BN won 140 and the opposition won 82
In 2013, the BN won 133 seats and the opposition 89

"This shall be a beginning for a fierce movement to clean this country from election malpractice and fraud, for there is no opportunity for renewal without a clean and fair elections," Mr Anwar had told Reuters news agency on Tuesday.

"Enough of this oppression. Please for once, for once, see the change in the mood of the people."

But National Police Chief Ismail Omar told state news agency Bernama on Tuesday the protest was illegal because organisers did not have a permit.

But Tian Chua, spokesman for the opposition, said the protest was lawful.

"Strictly speaking, the police do not have the power to ban a rally which is held within a stadium," he told Radio Australia.

He added that under the law, people have the right to hold a peaceful gathering if the owners of the venue agree.

The government has insisted that the 5 May polls were free and fair, and say that evidence of fraud should be presented.

However, the independent Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) and the Centre for Public Policy Studies (CCPS) watchdogs have said there were "serious flaws".

"Having conducted an independent and impartial observation of the elections, Ideas and CPPS conclude that [the election] was only partially free and not fair," its joint report said.

Irregularities included questions over campaign spending and the Election Commission's independence from the government coalition.

The watchdogs also cited inequalities in how the constituencies were demarcated.

Suara Rakyat Suara Keramat

Malaysian Election Confusion

This election is so freaking confusing and non-transparent. I can't find impartial information anywhere, even if I were trying to just find the facts. How come the Counting Agents are silent? Why are numbers different depending on the sources I visit? I decided to form my own conclusions and pulled the entire result list from the SPR website and collated them, in the sincere hope that SPR is as factual as it gets. Several observations have me rather irked, and I hope all of you my friends as thinking, rational people consider these facts.

i) EC said voter turnout was around 80%, among the highest, if not the highest in the world. My spreadsheet has it at 84.6%. Every time I hear something like "Highest in the world" I get really suspicious. However there being no compulsory registration, I will take this with a pinch of salt.

ii) The balance of power is hanging on a very thin edge, and it is vexing to think that it is POSSIBLE that a small sleight of hand can shift the balance. Let me give an example: There were 25 parliamentary seats that PR lost on a margin of less than 2000 votes. The actual number is 26916 votes across 25 seats. This means if only 26931 people( less than half a % of registered voters) voted for the opposition, PR would be in power now. For those who don't believe me I encourage you to do your homework, the seats are: 003,012,018,026,029,053,058,067,078,089,092,093,096,118,119,140,142,144,146,158,159,168,177,182,220

iii) By my calculation, for parliamentary votes BN has 47.4%, PR 50.9%, Others 1.7%
Why do my number seem different as compared to various sources? I'm not saying anything about gerrymandering if that's what you're thinking, but I do question the transparency of information. The entire rakyat should be able to scrutinize the process and be able to access the information readily. SPR gives me the behind-closed-doors white smoke from the chimney kind of feeling.

iv) Why do all the recounts seem to favour a certain party? As I do not have first hand information(read: say something counting agents), I will not speculate on this one.

It's just sad that the ruling coalition they can attempt to reassure the public that the results are fair and transparent by a very simple SHOW AND TELL, yet they choose SMOKE AND MIRRORS. I choose to view internet news as biased and sentimentalist, but seriously, all the public is looking for is the truth. I mean, why cover up and secretly deliver ballot boxes if they belong to a particular centre? Just show it and deliver it with your head held high!

I don't like the POSSIBILITY that the democratic process in Malaysia was hijacked.

For those interested in the full spreadsheet you can download it with macros removed:

State data now available:

Lose the battle, win the war

I'm going to say something that most people are not going to like hearing, and I'm saying this because of the huge amount of black on my facebook wall.

Did you, any of you, really think that PR would sweep the elections? Put aside the dirty campaigning, and election tactics, did you really think PR would win?

From what i've seen over social media over the last few months, I thought that PR would win more seats. I believed that there would be a bigger change, I believed that the people would put into action what they were so vocal (online) about. But then I stopped myself and looked at the people in my social circles, the people I interact with online. We are a tiny, tiny middle class online savvy minority. It is because your social circle expected a certain outcome that you did too. But we do not represent the majority, and we don't even interact with them. Do you really expect to predict how they will vote? My father is Sarawakian, and I lived there for many years of my life. I lived in Kuching, but I know that in the interior and rural areas there are so many Malaysians who are not like you, who are not like me. Did I expect them to vote for PR, no. Did I expect them to vote for BN, yes. Why? Because that is all they see, that is what they know, the bribe money that they get means so much to them because they have close to nothing. And it's sad to say that that is the majority that we do not know.

So instead of turning your profile pictures black, if you really believe in change and the party you support, start planning now. Start the campaign to win the hearts of the people outside the urban areas, the people in the heartland. We know what's going on, they don't. Go talk to them.

And Malaysians, get to know the other Malaysia. Don't criticise them for voting the way they feel is right. Speak to them, get to know them, understand their plight, their needs, their wants. Then campaign to them, the urbanites are practically campaigning for you already.

And don't wait until a few months before the elections to campaign. Start now. Start fighting for measures to be put in place for a better electoral system now. Start making those in power more accountable for their actions. Start making your candidates accountable for the promises they made. Stop allowing mudslinging and racism and sexism to flourish in our government. You won't stand for it, make your candidate not stand for it. Make them fight for a proper democracy over the next 5 years. Then we can see a change. It doesn't happen overnight. it doesn't come with one day every five years. And it definitely won't come if you give up.
And make the change in you.

You want our politicians to stop being racist and sexist, then stop doing it yourself.

You want our government to stop being corrupt, then stop corruption in your own life.

You want cleanliness and transparency in our country, live clean, live transparent.

You are one of the atoms that make up Malaysia, don't ask for the changes that you don't live by.

Don't be a hypocrite and ask the people in power to be any different from you.

Take the small victories. No one ever said that the journey would be short or easy. 

Did anyone ever think that PR would make inroads into the birthplace of UMNO, Johor? I didn't, but they did.

Did anyone expect 80% of registered voters to turn out to vote? I didn't, but they did.
In 2003, BN won 198 seats.In 2008, BN won 140 seats.In 2013, BN won (as of time of posting) 132 seats (with 6 seats uncalled).

So whatever it is, it is still a small victory for PR.And now the question is what will the numbers be in 2018?
Gandhi took 32 years to fight for independence.Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years in the fight to end apartheid.
And we've been trying for what 10 years?Come on Malaysia, grow up.

Yes, you're sad, but a fight is a fight, it goes on.
Democracy doesn't happen overnight, democracy is a journey.Just because there are hurdles and obstacles in your way doesn't mean you give up.

You train for the next race. And maybe that one you'll win.

"Lose the battle, win the war"'Art of War' - Sun-Tzu

-Rosheen Fatima-

Hishamuddin unhurt after helicopter landing mishap

KUALA LUMPUR: Caretaker Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein was involved in a helicopter landing mishap after casting his vote in Johor today, but no one was hurt in the incident said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar.

Ismail said the helicopter Hishamuddin was travelling in had a rough landing, and landed on its side on the runaway at the TUDM Subang Jaya Air Force base today afternoon.

"No one was injured in the mishap but Hishamuddin was taken to a medical facility together with several passengers within the air force base for a check up.

"The private helicopter was overcome by strong winds during the landing which caused it to overturn," he said.

He said there was no cause for concern adding that he had called Hishamuddin directly after the crash to check on him.

"He is just a bit shaken up over the incident," he told a press conference at Bukit Aman yesterday.

Polls close in Malaysia's tight election

Voting ends with expected record voter turnout in divisive election which could see end to long-ruling coalition.

Malaysians are voting in elections that could see the coalition ousted after nearly 56 years in power [EPA]
Voters have braved long lines and rain in Malaysia to take part in a historic general election that is widely expected to go down to the wire.

Voting began at 8am local time [0000 GMT] at more than 8,200 polling centres across the country after a last-ditch campaign frenzy that went until the stroke of midnight. Polling stations close at 5pm [0900 GMT] on Sunday, with results expected to emerge within hours.

The run-up to the election has polarised the nation of 28m people, with the powerful ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, facing off against a revitalised Pakatan Rakyat opposition, led by Anwar Ibrahim, looking to unseat its rival for the first time since independence from Britain in 1957.

A massive front-page headline on The Star newspaper proclaimed a “Day of Reckoning”. The newspaper reported that bus and train terminals were swamped with voters traveling to their home districts to cast ballots.

“This election is crucial for the country. This is the first time there has been such a narrow margin. It’s the first time that citizens are being heard by both sides. We are moving towards democracy,” Shanaz Zain, 35, told Al Jazeera after casting his vote.

There are 13.3m registered voters in Malaysia.

'We will be vigilant'

Both sides have expressed confidence in the outcome, but unofficial opinion polls have put the overall results as too close to call.

“It’s fifty-fifty right now, nobody knows what will happen,” said Frankie Gan Joon Zin, a candidate for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition in Kuala Lumpur’s tourist and nightlife district of Bukit Bintang.

The streets of the capital, even in Gan’s usually bustling area, were quiet and security presence was light despite the bitter campaign marked by allegations of election fraud and hundreds of reports of violence by rights groups.

Police have banned all victory parades and street demonstrations after the results are announced. “We are on full alert to prevent any disturbances from happening, and all policemen have been ordered to maintain law and order at polling stations,” Khalid Abu Baker, deputy inspector general of police, told The Star newspaper.

The opposition has already warned of a disputed result and has accused the ruling coalition of flying in tens of thousands of foreigners from South Asia to tip the balance in hard-fought constituencies.

The government said it had arranged some incoming flights, but said they were part of a voter-turnout drive.

Meanwhile, some voters have complained of fading indelible ink. The non-removable ink is being used for the time, but many have said using detergent or bleach can remove marks on fingertips, meaning voters could cast ballots more than once.

"I wash it with Dettol and the ink all came off, it should not come off according to the authority," said Tan, a voter. "It's not a problem for me, but what I think, there will be a lot of fraud will be perpetrated as a result of this removal of the ink."

However, Ahmed Omar, deputy chariman of the election commission, said that "no fraud is possible" because "names only register once."

Night rally

At a rally last night, Anwar told supporters: “I warn the Election Commission and the government again that the people will not tolerate any electoral fraud. We will be vigilant of all suspicious activities."

The 13-party ruling coalition, led by Razak, is banking on robust economic growth, averaging around 5 percent annually, and fears of instability brought on by a possible transfer of power. It has painted the opposition as fractious and pro-Islamic.

In-depth coverage of May 5 vote to select new parliament
The three-party opposition, known as Pakatan Rakyat, has campaigned against corruption and vowed to roll-back a decades old quota system that favours ethnic Malays in schools, business contracts and civil service jobs.

“We’ve waited five years for this moment. I don’t mind waiting a little longer,” a voter who identified himself as Gary R, told Al Jazeera.

“The old world has to give way to the new.”

On Sunday, Prime Minister Najib voted in his hometown Pekan, Pahang state, 240km east of the capital Kuala Lumpur, and opposition leader Ibrahim in his hometown Permatang Pauh, Penang state, northern Malaysia.

Follow Al Jazeera's Charles McDermid (@charlesmcdermid) and Kate Mayberry (@kate_mayberry) on Twitter, who are reporting from Malaysia.

Source: Al Jazeera

Malaysia opposition has narrow lead ahead of election

Malaysia's opposition enjoys a very narrow lead over the long ruling National Front for the first time in a key poll issued on Friday, two days before an election in the Southeast Asian country.

The survey carried out by the Merdeka Center also revealed a broad decline in support for Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose National Front has held power since independence from Britain in 1957.

The survey, conducted between April 28 and May 2 among 1,600 voters, showed 42 percent of respondents wanted the opposition Peoples' Pact of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to govern the country. It credited the prime minister's Front with 41 percent.

Seventeen percent were either unsure or refused to answer.

It was the first time Merdeka had put such a question to voters. It was also the first time the opposition outscored the ruling coalition in any of its surveys, though the opposition has come out ahead in polls conducted by other organizations.

Stocks on the local bourse fell 1.09 percent, reflecting unease over the poll and partly offsetting gains this week.

"The fear of the outcome of the election and the uncertainty have been around for quite some time, but for those people who still have not sold, they have suddenly become fearful that the (National Front) may lose," said Ang Kok Heng of Phillip Capital Management Sdn Bhd.

Merdeka showed support for Najib had slipped to 61 percent from 64 percent in March. Dips were recorded within all three main ethnic groups -- 75 percent of majority Malays backed him against 76 percent in March, while support among minority Chinese fell to 31 percent from 37 percent and among Indians to 68 percent from 70 percent.

Ethnic Malays are the bedrock of support for the coalition, which has been largely abandoned by ethnic Chinese voters, more than a quarter of Malaysians.

Merdeka Center attributed the falls to the fleeting effect of government cash handouts to low-income groups and of increased pay and pensions for 1.4 million civil servants.

The coalition suffered its worst electoral showing in 2008, losing its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time.

Most analysts predict the National Front will win narrowly on Sunday, but a failure to improve on the 2008 result could cost Najib his job and raise uncertainty over policy.

Despite robust economic growth of 5.6 percent last year, those polled expressed most concern about economic conditions.

The poll found support for Najib was highest among poorer Malaysians, reaching 75 percent among households earning less than 1,500 ringgit ($500) a month and lowest among households earning more than 5,000 ringgit a month, at 43 percent.

Will elections in Malaysia be free or fair?

Malaysia's electoral system suffers from serious flaws, according to a leading activist from the opposition.

On May 5, Malaysians will vote in one of the most contentious general elections in the country's history. Unfortunately, Malaysia's electoral system is plagued by irregularities and unfairness at a time when a strong, independent electoral process is most needed.

Since its inception, Bersih 2.0 - a group pushing for electoral reforms, of which I am a co-chair - has argued for eight key reforms in its campaign for clean and fair elections. Over the past four years, Bersih 2.0 has made inroads in raising public awareness on the necessity for these reforms. The resulting public pressure has forced the federal government and the election commission to take a position on these issues and to make some overtures - albeit not entirely satisfactory - towards electoral reform.

Despite government posturing, however, the only reform that has been implemented for the upcoming general election is the introduction of the use of indelible ink. However, we have expressed our concern that the plan to apply the ink before the vote is cast may result in the smudging of the ballot paper and delays in the voting process.

In view of the flawed electoral process, Bersih 2.0 has launched a project called "Pemantau" in which we are deploying Malaysian citizens to observe the elections across the country. Thus far, Bersih 2.0 has mobilised 2,000 observers in 55 parliamentary districts. The observers will monitor election violations including bribery and the misuse of government resources to benefit particular political parties.

With voting day fast approaching, there has already been a long stream of evidence of electoral irregularities and breach of election laws.

Reports of phantom voters, double registrations, unauthorised registrations and unauthorised changing of voting constituencies have haunted Malaysian elections for years. Despite widespread support for a comprehensive clean-up, the election commission has in our view failed to do so.

The latest report of the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project shows there are at least 28,593 "voters of foreign origin" on the electoral roll, most of them concentrated in Sabah and Selangor, both of which are considered to be important states in the elections.

The Selangor state government, helmed by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition, has alleged that 28 percent of the 440,000 new voters in Selangor who have registered since the last elections cannot be identified. However, all attempts by the state government to have the election commissioninvestigate or even hear the complaints have failed.

Incidents of violence

Over the last year, there have been many reported incidents of violence during political rallies, usually involving a group of people attempting to disrupt the events or to intimidate speakers and participants. The violence is largely targeted at the opposition.

On April 23, the violence reached new heights when a bomb was detonated during a Barisan Nasional political gathering in Penang, resulting in one person being injured by flying debris. Two other incidents of bombing and the hurling of petrol bombs at Barisan Nasional campaign areas have been reported. Recently, two unknown men with their faces covered by ski masks entered the house of an opposition MP and set fire to his daughter’s car.

While the police have recently said they will crack down on any election-related violence, they must be careful that their actions match their words and that there is no disparity in how they deal with violence on either side of the political divide.

There are also many reported instances of fear being used to coerce civil servants and vulnerable or marginalised communities into voting for the ruling party. These tactics include threats that the voters may lose their jobs, pensions, scholarships and other benefits if they support the opposition.

Unsavoury smear campaigns have become a feature of the Malaysian political landscape: for instance, pornographic videos of opposition candidates are constantly surfacing and are widely shown.

Public funds

Caretaker governments at the federal and state levels have abused government resources to campaign for political parties. For example, it was reported that on April 8 that vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture were used to facilitate the opening of Barisan Nasional’s election command centre for the Batu parliamentary constituency.

In an article entitled "Buying support - Najib’s 'commercialisation' of GE13", Bridget Welsh, an associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University, estimated that the Najib administration spent a total of 57.7bn ringgit ($19.02bn) in the four years since he took over as prime minister on election-related incentives.

On April 10, the Malaysian Insider, quoting data from consumer analysts Nielsen Media Research, reported that Barisan Nasional and the prime minister's office had cumulatively spent 73m ringgit ($24m) in March 2013 on advertising. The article also quoted a report by Maybank Investment Bank Bhd that the prime minister’s office had spent 36.1m ringgit ($11.9m) on advertising in February 2013.

It is no exaggeration to say that millions of public dollars have been poured into schemes and allocations, in what appears to be efforts to sweeten the image of the political parties contesting the elections.

Pemantau has also witnessed instances of vote-buying by Barisan Nasional during this election campaign, and has recorded the handing out of cash vouchers to members of the public in Alor Setar and Nibong Tebal. It is anticipated that such actions will continue unabated until election day.

A biased mainstream media

The University of Nottingham, in collaboration with the Centre for Independent Journalism, is running a "Watching the Watchdog" project to monitor and analyse media reporting trends during the elections.

In a report dated April 21 that contained an analysis of data collected over a period of seven days between the dissolution of parliament and Nomination Day, the researchers concluded that Malaysians are being deprived of fair and objective information about the political parties and coalitions that are taking part in the elections. The analysis found that the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and its parties are given the most coverage and the most favourable coverage, and that the only news sources that do not conform to these trends are the online news portals, which give approximately equal quantities and quality of coverage to both the ruling coalition and the opposition.

Bersih 2.0 is also concerned to hear of allegations that political pressure is being put on a number of media outlets, as this will adversely affect the ability of voters to make an informed choice.

The factors that have perpetuated the election environment we face today are the very elements that have driven Bersih 2.0’s campaign for clean and fair elections over the last four years.

The elections were widely anticipated to be the dirtiest in the country’s history, and thus far, reality has exceeded expectations. The caretaker prime minister has failed to live up to the Transparency International pledge that he had signed promising ethical conduct.

We anticipate that more challenges lie ahead. We have called on every citizen eligible to come out and cast their vote. We believe that the one way we can fight the abuse in the system is to overwhelm it with a high voter turnout. We believe Malaysians will respond. Even Malaysians overseas are returning to vote on May 5. We believe Malaysians will surprise us and that we will see the highest voter turnout in our history.

I wish to thank Mahaletchumi Balakrishnan in assisting me with the research for this article.

Ambiga Sreenevasan is a lawyer, the former president of the Malaysian Bar, and the co-chair of Bersih 2.0, a group calling for free and fair elections in Malaysia.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

Source: Al Jazeera


JOHOR BARU, May 4 ― The return of Malaysian voters living and working in neighbouring Singapore will be a “significant factor” to watch out for in this tomorrow’s polls, regional observers have said.

Columnist Karim Raslan pointed out an estimated 400,000 Malaysians live and work in Singapore, with many of them hailing from Johor, one of the hottest states in the 13th general election.

He described the problems faced by voters originating from Johor, including rising property prices and cost of living, which he attributed to the Iskandar Malaysia economic region in southern Johor.

“At the same time and over the past few years Singaporeans as a whole have become increasingly politicized, as they’ve had to battle spiralling house prices, inflationary pressures and a deluge of foreigners.

“Many of these challenges are similar to those facing Johoreans as [Iskandar’s] dramatic growth spurt boosts the local economy,” the regional observer said in a text message to The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

When asked about the possible impact on polls that would be brought about by the Malaysians living across the Causeway, Karim said: “It’s anticipated that many will be ethnic Chinese and their political preferences will be fairly easy to determine.”

Well-respected local academic Dr Farish A. Noor said Malaysians returning from Singapore could play a huge role in areas where candidates previously won by slim margins.

“If the seats are marginal they may make an enormous difference.

“Remember that, at the last election, some seats were won with only a few hundred majority,” the associate professor from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

Farish also said that Malaysians in Singapore did not come solely from Johor, the country’s southernmost state.

“There are Malaysians working and studying in Singapore, but not all of them will be voting in Johor ― as many will also be trying to get to Selangor, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak, etc.

“The problem now is the availability of bus and flight tickets, and also the fact that many of those working in the service industry in jobs like cleaning, gardening, drivers, waiters etc may not be given leave to return.”

He also commented on how the sentiments of the citizens in Singapore and Malaysia, two countries separated by only narrow body of water known as the Straits of Johor, play off each other.

“The enthusiasm is there and Singaporeans are also watching the developments closely, for the rise of political awareness in Malaysia has an impact on political awareness in Singapore as well, I think.”

As the clock ticks down on the country’s most intense polls battle, tickets at airlines, railway and bus companies have been snapped up by Malaysians eager to make their voices heard.

Bersih Singapore co-ordinator Ong Guan Sin told The Malaysian Insider today that around 300 to 400 people had signed up for its carpool matching service, with registration for the service already closed, while the polls reform group also has one Penang-bound coach under its Jom Balik Undi (JBU) initiative.

A Facebook group that appeared to be independent from Bersih Singapore titled “Jom Balik Undi ― Kluang / Ayer Hitam / Sembrong” stated in an April 30 posting that 130 bus tickets sponsored by donors have been issued to those wishing to vote in the three federal seats stated above.

Kluang’s DAP candidate Liew Chin Tong recently told The Malaysian Insider that an estimated 20 per cent of voters there work in Singapore, saying that he was counting on them in his contest against MCA’s Hou Kok Chung.

The Kluang federal seat is considered one of the marginal seats in Johor, with Hou defeating DAP’s Ng Lam Hua in 2008 by only 3,781 votes, a considerably smaller win compared to MCA’s 18,698 vote-majority in 2004.

Lured by the strength of the Singapore dollar, some Malaysians brave the traffic jams and commute daily to the island state to work.

Local civil society groups have been ramping up efforts to urge them to come back to vote, as Malaysians in Singapore have been excluded from the newly-introduced postal voting for overseas voters.

The Election Commission (EC) similarly did not include Malaysians living in Brunei, southern Thailand and Kalimantan in Indonesia ― all located close to Malaysia.

The actual number of registered Malaysian voters living in these four areas is unknown.

Some 13.3 million Malaysians are eligible to vote tomorrow, with around three million of them being first-time voters.

Source : MI


Urgent - UBAH !!!

We need as much HELP as you can muster... spread the word.
A MAS staff leaked this info out to warn us. Hope PR can do something. Please share the info. MAS got the project to fly 60,000 Sabahans to Selangor during 1-4 May, to vote. AirAsia to fly some to Johore, for they know BN might lose Johore.

Please help to send all message that you receive to at least 10 persons. The more people we can reach out to the whole country the better. We need to reach out to the 7th level. We need to reach out to 1 million people very fast.

Time is of the essence... It is NOW OR NEVER

IF THIS IS TRUE,WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE. See the following link, Bangladeshis arriving at our Airport to vote in Malaysia next week-end. Just see who is coming to vote in Malaysia and decide our future

~ wonder who organized it???

Bangla arriving on charted flights to vote

Help to forward to at least 10 person to save our country

This scaring BN govt to the extent import bangla myanmar philipines & indon to vote in our country what is going to become of this nation if we dont change? Where is the future of our kids? 3 millions have left, how many more will leave if still no change?

PRU13 - BN has received confirmed report that they will lose. Now the campaign will get even dirtier, including all media carrying content to incite fear and hatred. The Rakyat must counter this by staying clam, vote early and vote in full force on 5th May. Ini kali lah!!

Please send to as many people as possible. Rumors have it from a source privy to BN's internal intelligence Report as of last weekend (28 April 2013).

The report stated - BN will lose majority seats in Parliament ... Pakatan Rakyat will win enough seats to form the new Federal Government. So starts what will be dirtier than an already a dirty campaign for PRU13. Among the rumors are desperate last gasp moves by UMNO/BN will include the follwings:

1) Create shortage of supply at markets and supermarkets - cooking oil, sugar, rice, salt etc … to propagate the feeling of people storing up in case of Emergency.

2) Broadcast the film "Tanda Putera" (about May 13, 1969) on ALL mainstream TV and cable stations starting Thursday/Friday (2nd/3rd May 2013) to incite anger among the Malays and fear among the non-Malays. Hoping to keep urban non-Malay voters at home on polling day ... and also inciting the unthinkable come 6th May if BN loses power.

Tanda Putera trailer: v=f2DbvDrK1PcBesides the content, the timing of this is simply EVIL!!

To Counter this, watch Tunku Abdul Rahman's last speech in the videos. v=PArLGgih9JAhttps%3A%2F%2F 3DIuo1cu9vk7khttps%3A%2F%2F 3DePe8xedXixc

3) Creating more politically motivated violent incidents around the country.

4) Playing up (even more) on the DAP + PAS issues in the media.

5) Release more fabricated "evidence" and "scandals" to discredit Pakatan Rakyat candidates, leaders and members of prominent anti-BN civil society members.

We pray that the above rumors are just rumors. We really do!

However, if BN really does push for any or all of them, we (THE RAKYAT) must counter it.

We the PEOPLE must do our part to prevent BN from succeeding. Show them - the people no longer fear them nor are taken in by such dirty tricks ... they should RESPECT and FEAR the people!!

Tell all our friends and family!!

On 5th May, regardless of what would have been in the media and happening around us, we MUST come out and vote in full force, and we must vote without fear!!

Vote early, vote in full force!! At all time, stay clam but firm!!!

People Power must prevail in this historical week!! Hidup Rakyat!! And "Hidup BN sebagai Pembangkang!"

Please send via email, post on FB / Twitter / Blogs this message to as many eligible voters as possible. Further translate it into Chinese/Tamil / Bahasa / Iban if you can. Please SMS the following to as many voters as possible.

Source : Email

Talk to Al Jazeera - Najib Razak: Malaysia's election challenge

Ahead of Malaysia's elections, the prime minister explains why he thinks defeat would be a 'disaster' for his country.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim confident ahead of polls

Malaysian opposition leader opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he believes that his three-party alliance can win this weekend's poll.
Mr Anwar is part of a broad coalition which includes moderates, Islamists and Malaysians of Chinese descent.
Prime Minister Najib Razak's National Front coalition has been in power for over 50 years.
Jonathan Head spoke to him on the campaign trail.

PKR: PM's Office linked to flying in dubious voters

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is allegedly involved in purported operations to fly in dubious voters from East Malaysia to the Peninsula, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said today.

Anwar said that his party has obtained photographic and documented evidence that 16 chartered flights have been flying to Peninsula everyday from various locations in East Malaysia.

He said by polling day, at least 40,500 people would have been flown in via such flights, while passenger manifests which he claimed was in PKR’s possession reveals that the passengers are mainly foreign nationals.

Anwar also said that the party has obtained a copy of email communication within Malaysian Airlines (MAS) that made a direct reference to the PMO in relation to the chartered flights.

Source : Mkini

However you clean, some ink will still be visible, says EC

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Election Commission has again given the assurance that the indelible ink to be marked on the finger of voters this Sunday cannot be completely washed off.
No matter how hard one tries to remove the stain on their finger, there will still be a bit visible on the skin, said deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.
“I am confident it is not possible to wash off the ink stain 100%. The ink is made of silver nitrate. Maybe one can scrape off the ink on their fingernail but the skin around the nail will still show a bit of ink,” he told reporters.
“Clerks at the polling centres are equipped with magnifying glasses and they will check all the fingers of the voter before allowing the person to vote,” he added.
Even if someone managed to remove the ink, he said, it would still be impossible for that person to vote twice because the electoral roll would show that the person had already voted.
“Once a person votes, the name will be struck off the electoral roll. So there is no way anyone can vote twice,” said Wan Ahmad who was here to oversee the advanced voting process.
He was responding to claims over the internet that some early voters could wash off the ink from their finger.
Wan Ahmad said he observed that some voters had tried to clean their fingers with tissue paper immediately after the ink was applied.
“This may wipe off some of the ink because it is not completely dried. I propose that on May 5, the EC will not provide tissue paper at the polling centres,” he said.
Source : The Star (one&only)

Foreigners in police, armed forces of Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Rakyat supremo Anwar Ibrahim has claimed that certain documents were discovered showing that there were Bangladeshis, Filipinos and Indonesians in the police and armed forces.
The documents were found near a shophouse, which the Election Commission claims is its store.
Speaking at a press conference here, Anwar said a truck carrying important documents was stopped by the EC task force in Putrajaya and moved to another location in Sungai Chua, Kajang.
He said EC claimed that the premise the truck was taken to was an EC store and it was moved there only for safe-keeping.
“We found documents in the trash and around this premise that the EC claims is their store. It surely doesn’t look like one.
“These documents show 42 voters within the police and army that are of Indonesia, Bangladesh and Phillipines nationalities. How is this even possible? We don’t have foreigners in our police and armed forces,” he added.
Anwar urged the EC to speed up investigations and take stern action against the perpetrators.
“The fraud cases within the electoral roll has to be cleared. EC must stand strong and continue to do so without taking sides as it will only lose its credibility. A lot of proof has surfaced over time. EC must answer and resolve all ambiguity as soon as possible,” he added.
Anwar also urged the police to act more professionally in handling violence during the campaign period leading up to the general election.
He said the uprise in violence is getting more serious.
“The police can’t keep blaming us for everything. They have to conduct proper investigations and tell people the truth.
“Supporters of both sides have to behave and show support to their respective parties by voting for the candidates on polling day and not disrupt the peace and harmony of the country,” he added.
Don’t be over confident
Anwar advised Pakatan supporters to stay calm and not fall prey to provocations.
“We have to be more mature, we are still expecting the debate with caretaker prime minister Najib Tun Razak. We have till May 4, so let’s all be patient,” he said.
“We feel that the general election is a platform for debate and the contestation of ideas from both sides. The people should be given the opportunity to decide based on facts from both the caretaker government and the opposition,” he added.
On the same note, Anwar appealed to his supporters not to be over confident but to continue to work hard and throw their support behind him and Pakatan.
Asked about his forecast on the election results, he said: “We remain cautiously optimistic about the results. Our supporters must not be over confident.”
“Just because the crowd (at Pakatan ceramahs) is big, doesn’t mean we have that much support and we will win. It is very encouraging but our confidence is based mainly on our ground work,” he added.
Meanwhile, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and DAP’s Anthony Loke, who were also present, disregarded the statement by a DAP leader in Johor urging locals not to vote for PAS.
“That is not DAP’s stand, we will continue to work together with Pakatan as we have always done,” said Loke.
“This will not affect us in any way, PAS will still support DAP and vice versa. We will not lose faith in each other just because of one or two black sheep,” said Mohamad Sabu.

Source : FMT

Game Changers (intruders !!) will land in to vote in S'gor

SELANGOR Caretaker Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has accused Umno of flying in outside voters including army voters and especially from Sabah, to make up part of the electoral roll in the state.

Khalid said this when commenting on the 130,000 voters which appear on the state electoral roll, who he said the state was unable to detect through its democratisation project.

However, Khalid, who is also Selangor Pakatan Rakyat chairperson, did not provide any detail in his statement to substantiate his allegations, other than to say the claims were “based on intelligence”.

“Based on intelligence, we find Umno has carried out activities to bring in outside voters, especially from Sabah, using air transport.

NONE“From our surveillance, (we find) there is a special flight left open for that purpose and landing is carried out in a specific location, and not in the usual locations such as KL International Airport (KLIA) and the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT).

“We are also informed of actions to bring in army voters from Sabah and Sarawak. This is weird as army personnel and their families are listed as postal voters,” Khalid said in a statement.

He also accused Umno of increasing the number of identity cards it is allegedly handing out to foreigners from Indonesia, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

He claimed that Pakatan was infomred told by the group concerned that the foreigners were issued with MyKad on the condition they pledged to vote for the BN.

On the matter of the undetectable 130,000 names in the electoral role, Khalid said the state government had officially contacted the Election Commission (EC) to work together on tracking these voters.

However, the EC rejected the offer of cooperation from the state government, saying this did not fall under the authority of the state government, Khalid said.

“We hope the EC will carry out monitoring so as to curb those ineligible from voting in the coming general election,” he added.
Malaysiakini is in the midst of contacting BN Selangor deputy chairperson Noh Omar, coordinator Mohd Zin Mohamed, and Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Mansor for comment, but they are thus far unreachable.

Source : MKini

EC: Only three people know colour of indelible ink

The Election Commission believes the colour of the indelible ink to be used in next Sunday's general election still remains a closely-guarded secret to prevent the ink from being duplicated.

Only three people knew the colour of the ink, commission secretary Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria said in Putrajaya today.

He said two of them are the commission chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and himself.

NONEHowever, Kamaruddin (left) declined to reveal the name of the third person.

"So, I believe the colour of the indelible ink will remain a closely-kept secret until polling day next Sunday," he told reporters.

Kamaruddin said the ink's unique colour, which was different from other available indelible inks in the market, would enable EC officials to identify if there were voters marked with other inks.

"The substances used to produce the ink are also different from the ordinary, hence it cannot be duplicated or faked," he said.

On the people's concern that the ink might dirty the ballot papers, rendering the ballots as spoilt votes, Kamaruddin said if this happened before the voter marked the ballot paper, he or she could ask for a fresh ballot.

However, the voter needs to fill up a form first, he said.

"The indelible ink to be used is the type that will dry quickly. In fact, the EC will provide tissue paper to wipe the stains that have not dried.

"I advise voters not to allow anyone to make markings with any ink on the index finger before voting as only EC officials are empowered to do so," Kamaruddin added.

- Bernama

Malaysia Needs to Get Off the Road to Mediocrity

April 23, 2013
In his bid for re-election, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has dispensed with all shame. Vote for me, he has essentially declared, or Malaysia will suffer “catastrophic ruin” and an “Arab Winter” of the kind that has undone economies from Egypt to Libya.
Both warnings are ludicrous -- signs of how worried Najib’s National Front coalition is of losing power for the first time since 1957. They speak to the desperation of a government that has come to serve itself, not Malaysia’s 29 million people. And they are emblematic of a leader whose talk of bold change hasn’t been matched by action.
Najib’s claim is this: Giving the opposition, led by former Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim, a chance to lead on May 5 would reverse all the gains Malaysia has made since the 2008 financial crisis. The economy would crater, stocks and the currency would plunge, and chaos would reign.
Change through the ballot box in a democracy should never be disruptive or chaotic, and rhetoric suggesting otherwise is disingenuous. Najib likes to say: “The time has come for Malaysians to make a decision.” Actually, the time has come for Malaysia’s government to grow up.
Najib’s scaremongering, some of which came out of an April 17 Bloomberg News interview, smacks of the re-election campaign run almost a decade ago by then U.S. President George W. Bush. Instead of this vote-for-me-or-you’re-in-danger appeal, Najib should scare up some headline-grabbing reforms that leave Malaysia better off in the future.

Developing Complacency

The country’s biggest problem is complacency. Malaysia Inc. can be a slow-moving, change-resistant animal in a very dynamic neighborhood. Nations as diverse as China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are evolving in ways that have enabled them to leapfrog peers in a few years. They are all competing for the same infrastructure dollars, factory projects, bond deals and stock issues. Singapore, meanwhile, has become the beneficiary of many of Malaysia’s best and brightest, who have emigrated in search of a more merit-based economy.
Malaysia is a resource-rich nation with huge potential. But it remains shackled to a four-decade-old affirmative-action program -- favoring ethnic Malays -- that turns off foreign investors and undermines national productivity. This so-called New Economic Policy was devised by Najib’s father, Abdul Razak Hussein, the country’s second prime minister.
Najib, 59, has indeed rolled back some of those preferences to encourage investment. He did away with a requirement that foreign companies investing in Malaysia and locally listed businesses set aside 30 percent of their equity for ethnic Malays and indigenous peoples known as “bumiputera.” It’s time to go much further and dismantle all race-based policies.

Little Difference

When, for example, can more ethnic Chinese expect to start winning the really big government contracts? Here, Najib’s real quarrel may be with his own government. Anwar is pro-markets and pro-investment, too. When you look at the core of what Najib is promising voters -- less corruption and higher living standards -- it’s not wildly different from the opposition’s message. The trouble is, Najib is navigating a 13-party coalition whose interests are as entrenched as any in the world. His partners are pushing back quite assertively, afraid of losing the Malay vote they could once take for granted.

Money Politics

The opposition has gained traction with its claims that Malay-run companies, from power producers to toll-road operators, unfairly benefit from their ties to the government. Najib’s pledges to clamp down on crony capitalism and to instill greater transparency have been undercut by measures such as the ban on street protests that passed on his watch. Now, many voters hope to wipe the slate clean.
When he’s not trying to frighten voters, Najib is touting Malaysia’s 6.4 percent growth as proof he is a radical-change agent. In fact, much of Southeast Asia also is booming, and the government is helping to artificially fuel growth with populist handouts. Even more than the $444 billion of private sector-led projects ranging from oil storage to a mass-transit railway that Najib has championed, the country needs reforms that will revitalize the system as a whole. The government should be encouraging more startup companies, widening the tax base and hacking away at subsidies that institutionalize complacency.
All too often, rapid gross-domestic-product growth is used as a smoke screen to hide underlying cracks in an economy’s long-run potential. In Malaysia’s case, the numbers mask a government too focused on staying in power to do its job. If anything should be scaring Malaysian voters, it’s that.

Local MIC leader, 103 members quit over BN’s backing of Zul Noordin

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 —
The MIC Shah Alam division’s vice chairman and 103 other members have quit the party over Perkasa vice president Datuk Zulkifli Noordin nomination as a Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate in the constituency.
The decision to field Zulkifli has earned the ruling coalition much criticism, not just due to his reputation as an Islamist hardliner via his position in the Malay rights advocacy group Perkasa, but also the recent controversies over his insults against the Hindu community.
“Reason number one is the choice of Zul Noordin as a candidate in Shah Alam. He spoke against the Indians,” C. Supayah, the division’s vice-chairman told The Malaysian Insider.
He also said that BN’s failure to field a candidate against Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali makes it clear that Umno is supporting Perkasa.
Like Zulkifli, Ibrahim is also known as a hardline Islamist, especially for his controversial calls for the burning of Malay-language bibles which contain the word “Allah”, which led to an uproar among the non-Muslim community.
Supayah said he also took issue with Umno Shah Alam chief Datuk Ahmad Nawawi Mohd Zin for leading the 2009 cow’s head protest against the construction of a Hindu temple in the Muslim-majority area.

Sim withdraws from Kota Laksamana contest

Forty-eight hours after filing his papers as an Independent candidate in the Kota Laksamana state seat in Malacca, DAP’s Sim Tong Him has declared his withdrawal from the contest.

NONESim (right), who was with DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang at a press conference in the party’s Malacca headquarters today, admitted he was wrong to run as an independent against the candidate chosen by the party, Lai Kuen Ban.

He also apologised for his action, as required by the party, which had threatened action against him and incumbent Teratai representative Jenice Lee, who similarly went ‘rogue’ on nomination day.

Sim, who is defending the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat on a DAP ticket, earlier told Malaysiakini that he was confident of winning both seats in the May 5 general election and was willing to be kicked out of the party for doing what he thinks is right.

He had said that he was running as an independent in order to save the party because he felt its chosen candidate may not win the seat.
Meets with party supremo Kit Siang

Sim, 65, said he had yet to receive any letter from the party, till late yesterday evening, instructing him to relinquish the ‘Independent’ tag and to drop out of the Kota Laksamana contest.

NONEDAP chairperson Karpal Singh, secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and party parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang had ordered Sim and Lee (left) - who is contesting the state seat in Selangor, also as an Independent - to stand down and apologise to the party for their actions.

Sim's withdrawal follows his meeting with Kit Siang this afternoon.

However, it is not known if Lee was also approached, though she has kept mum on the matter till now and seems intent on continuing with her campaign.

The Election Commission said today that candidates are by law not allowed to withdraw from the race after nominations are accepted and their names will appear on the ballot papers, which are now being printed, as provisions allowing for such withdrawals have been repealed.

However, the commission said that it was up to the candidates to declare their withdrawals, if they wanted to, but there would be no change to the ballot papers.


GE13: Selangor BN Manifesto promises better future for all - Najib

Najib tonight launched the manifesto which outlined seven core thrusts and 56 pledges which focused on easing the burden of the people and improving their quality of life.

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 (Bernama) -- The Barisan Nasional (BN) Selangor manifesto promises a better life for all races in the state, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

    Hence, the prime minister urged the people to join hands with the BN in the quest to accelerate Selangor's progress.

    "Tonight, I will be launching a manifesto for Selangor which promises a better life for the people of various races in the state. Let us join hands to ensure Selangor's continued progress," he said in his Facebook posting Wednesday.

    Najib tonight launched the manifesto which outlined seven core thrusts and 56 pledges which focused on easing the burden of the people and improving their quality of life.

    The BN, among other things, promises to create a new corridor, the Selangor Global Logistic Hub, stretching from Port Klang to Kota Raja and the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang which aimed at attracting foreign investment and generating 560,000 job opportunities for the people of Selangor.

    The seven thrusts in the manifesto are namely, brighter future; more concern and caring community; safer and more prosperous quality of life; more affordable housing, more innovative and competitive Selangor; more progressive Selangor; and more environmentally-friendly and cleaner Selangor.

    On BN candidates in Selangor, he said most of them were new faces who would uphold the principles of the government transformation agenda and strive to make Selangor a better state.

    source : MSN

    10 Facts about GE13 - Interesting..

    Updated: 18th April 2013

    Lembah Pantai, Putrajaya and Bandar Tun Razak have shaped up to be the top three seats in the Federal Territories to watch in the 13th general election.

    Malaysians will be casting their votes for GE13, which will be held on 05th May 2013 and without no doubt called as "Mother of all elections".

    Sense - what we Sense..

    Malaysia is dominated by Malay (50%) community followed by Chinese (24%), Indigenous (11%) and Indians (7%).

    Who can make a difference... It is widely circulated that the election will be a closely contest one in Malaysian history, where first time in history (after independence) a close challenge is being exerted by an opposition to ruling BN. Certainly, majority Malays in almost all battle ground makes the difference, but effective difference can be made by other voters - Chinese and Indians, which I would like to call it as "swing factor" - not all contested seats can be swing but certainly few key battle grounds as very similar to US states, where by default states are Democrats or Republican and swing states makes all matters!

    What next?

    April 20th 2013, will be the nomination day and a dram can be expected if issues finds with the nomination and including party. where one particular party is in danger of de-listed as they had a ROS issue which will be take on two days prior to elections.

    As I always insist that "Politician is a Politician" - this factor has no big deal.

    Malaysians Decides..

    On 5th May, almost all keen Malaysians will be heading towards polls with much excitement to see the outcome (overall) against what they have to say! it was a political tsunami when Malaysia had its last GE in 2008, but there are many changes and too many to expect this time too.

    Let me update and keep you all updated on all related to GE13 of Malaysia as and when I hear.

    Wish you a happy week..

    KJ Sense/signed.

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