Syarahan The Asian Renaissance & Dialog Anak Muda Bersama Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Syarahan The Asian Renaissance & Dialog Anak Muda Bersama Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Speech by Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the Economic Agenda Forum & Iftar on July 16, 2014 at the Mentri Besar Selangor’s Official Residence
Versi Bahasa Melayu
Keynote address by Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysian Opposition Leader and Selangor State Economic Advisor at the Royal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur on July 9th 2014
Versi Bahasa Malaysia
Malaysian students in Adelaide have been warned off going to hear Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim during the Adelaide Festival of Ideas on Saturday.
An email sent on Monday to 90 Malaysian students in Adelaide warns “stern action” would be taken against them if they attended.
Anwar Ibrahim, who is due to fly in to Adelaide on Friday morning is world famous as a reforming politician in Malaysia, where he has been harassed and jailed on successive charges of homosexuality and sodomy, which he denies.
He is Leader of the Opposition in Malaysia and was invited to the Festival of Ideas to speak on Dissent and Democracy.
The email is addressed to JPA scholars, those who have received scholarships to study here funded by Malaysia’s Public Service Department.
The email is signed by Shahrezan MD Sheriff, student adviser at the Public Service Department, and advises students not to attend the meeting.
It reads: “You are smarter to think and focus on what matters rather than joining this activity that could make your hardship in maintaining good grades and earning the scholarship goes down the drain (sic).”
While the email’s authorship has not been confirmed and Shahrezan MD Sheriff did not return calls to the JPA office at the Malaysian Consulate, based in Sydney, it has caused consternation both in Australia and Malaysia.
The visit of Anwar Ibrahim was organised by the Festival of Ideas, together with the State Government, Flinders University and Senator Nick Xenophon.
Mr Xenophon said he had no doubt the email was real.
“When I first saw it I thought it was a hoax, but there’s no denial of it,” he said.
“This is not unusual. This is the story of intimidation that Malaysian students face all the time and now they are extending their harassment to Australia.
“That’s unacceptable, and that’s why I am about to send a letter to the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop about this because this is clearly intimidatory.”
Professor Clinton Fernandez, a Canberra-based expert on Malaysia, said ASIO should also be called in to investigate.
“This is clearly an intrusion in Australia’s domestic affairs and if he is employed by the Malaysian Government (Shahrezan) should be deported,” he said.
Mr Xenophon, who described Ibrahim as a beacon of hope for democracy in Malaysia and the entire South East Asian region, was himself deported and banned from Malaysia earlier this year.
The threatening email was greeted with derision on chat sites of the Anwar Ibrahim Club, both for its poor English and for its threatening tone. “We aren’t stupid anymore. Go to hell, government!” says one.
Mr Anwar’s official engagement is to appear in conversation with ABC broadcaster Waleed Aly at Elder Hall on Saturday, October 19 at 11.30am, hosted by Senator Nick Xenophon. Entry is free.
However, separate meetings have been organised in the city tomorrow and at Bradford Lodge, an international student hostel in Rose Park by the Anwar Ibrahim Club and Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia Adelaide on Saturday night.
It was not clear whether the threatening email was referring specifically to one or all of those events.
The 9th Adelaide Festival of Ideas continues until Sunday.
Malaysia’s smallest and northern-most state Perlis saw its largest-ever political rally on Monday night, with some 10,000 people packing the Pakatan Rakyat’s Black 505 gathering in downtown Kangar to greet Opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim, PAS deputy chief Mohamad Sabu and a host of other leaders who had trekked up the country to rally public support for their fight against electoral cheating in the recently concluded May 5 ballot.
“We continue with our fight. As I have said, the general election is not over. We are now exposing one electoral fraud after another,” the 64-year-old Anwar told the roaring crowd.
“We have to make a stand. Enough is enough.”
Monday’s rally was the first-ever Black 505 gathering held by the Pakatan in Perlis and the folk here were not disappointed. Many had come to see for themselves what has been variously described as being “a social wave”, “a phenomenon”, “a political awakening” overtaking the country.
The Black 505 rallies – the brainchild of Anwar himself – has drawn mammoth crowds all over the country. Malaysians of all races have taken part in these assemblies with gusto, abandoning their customary shyness to call out voraciously for the resignations of Prime Minister Najib Razak and the top officials of the Election Commission for allegedly cheating in the country’s 13th general election.
In Kangar, where the 11th Black 505 rally was held, it was no different. The crowd’s enthusiasm was obvious despite it being a Monday night. “Penipuan” was the the most common response when Malaysia Chronicle asked several members of the audience why they had come to the rally.
“Inilah satu petanda orang Malaysia sudah sampai satu tahap politik yang matang (It is a sign Malaysians have become politically more matured),” was another common response.
Sustaining power, not ego trip but a fight for the very foundation of democracy
As usual, Anwar was mobbed by the crowd who rushed to greet him when he arrived, reaching out to touch him as he was made his way to the stage. Like it or not, his popularity and ability to mobilize public support is undeniable and unprecedented in Malaysian politics.
The success of the Black 505 in Kangar flies in the face of Pakatan’s critics, namely Umno, its newspapers and related news portals. The latter, in particular, have been vocal in their criticism that it was a waste of time, that the rallies were a mere puff for Anwar’s ego but a drag on public resources and time as well as being a red light for foreign investors.
Whether or not, they are speaking at the behest of their political bosses, the Umno-linked media and online portals have claimed that the Black 505 rallies were ‘not what the Malaysian people want from their Opposition’.
What do Malaysians want of their Opposition then, if not to fight for the most basic fundamental – a cleaned-up polls system that would ensure who got the greatest votes became the government as desired by the most number of people? Otherwise, how could the Opposition ever become the government and translate into action the policies they envisioned and promised the people?
Pakatan leaders, in rebutting the claims against them, point to the massive crowds that keep coming back for more. They point to the 51% of the Malaysian people who voted for them but were denied of a Pakatan federal government due to the electoral fraud, which includes widespread gerrymandering.
In their speeches, Anwar, Mat Sabu, PKR vice president Tian Chua and MP for Sungai Petani Johari Abdul all made it clear that Black 505 will continue until the Election Commission chairman and deputy chairman stood down and re-elections held in the seats where evidence of fraud had been found and were the strongest.
Those would be the first essential steps for the people to reclaim their ownership of the electoral system, which unless is reformed, would ensure that Umno-BN remained in power in perpetuity, the Pakatan leaders said.
“Today Kangar, tomorrow Sungei Petani and the day after Kota Bahru and on the 16th Batu Pahat,” Anwar announced.
“And on the 22nd June, a major rally in Kuala Lumpur. Exactly like this, a peaceful assembly, but larger scale – a national event – to show Malaysians and the world we will not condone cheating.”
Ada orang nak ‘bunuh’ Zahid: Dr M out to destroy Zahid?
Mat Sabu, who is in the process of completing a post-mortem of his own party’s performance in the general election, promised transparency and offered re-elections to Umno-BN in Pakatan-won seats so long as they showed proof.
“Yes, we hear what Umno is saying about our reps who have been sworn-in in Penang and Kelantan. Sure, if you (Umno-BN) have proof, show and you can also request for re-elections,” said Mat Sabu, who together with Tian received loud applause for their oratorical skills.
Youth activist Badrul Hisham Shaharin aka Chegubard, who heads the Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia, was another popular speaker.
The 35-year-old had the crowd clearly on his side as he rattled through the list of reasons why Malaysians must stand up to the polls fraud he claimed had been perpetuated by the Umno -BN..
Chegubard also had the crowd in stitches with his witty remarks and the way he regained his poise after flubbing a line meant to attack former premier Mahathir Mohamad.
“Ini bukan kubu Umno, ini kubur Umno (this is not Umno’s fortress but Umno’s grave),” said Chegubard.
He repeated his warning to Home Minister Zahid Hamidi to be careful of Najib and Mahathir, whom he claimed were out for Zahid’s ‘blood’.
“Zahid, you are actually a leader with charisma but you are being trapped by Najib and Mahathir,” said Chegubard, referring to the intensifying infighting in Umno ahead of its internal polls due to be held later this year.
“Mahathir wants to ‘bunuh’ (destroy) Zahid so that his son can take over,” he added.
Dataran Merdeka is symbolic. It is our metaphorical Berlin Wall and its significance cannot be exaggerated.
Umno Baru leaders and the police have refused to allow the use of Dataran Merdeka for the ‘Black 505’ rally in Kuala Lumpur on June 15.
Etched in the memories of older Malaysians is the lowering of the Union Jack and the raising of the Malayan flag at midnight, at the Selangor Club padang as Dataran Merdeka was then known. The younger generation would have learnt about its historical role.
When the 154.5km Berlin Wall – a concrete structure built by the East Germans to divide the east from the west – came down, the city of Berlin was reunited, communist rule in eastern Europe fell and the process of re-unification of East and West Germany started.
If the opposition coalition were to hold this rally at Dataran Merdeka, it would score a great moral victory, just as Bersih did. The violence during the Bersih 3.0 rally was perpetrated by the police. A weak regime is one which does not know how to use arguments and discussion as weapons, but resorts to violence.
If the place that is connected with Merdeka and the Tunku were to become the focal point for the ‘Black 505’ rally, attention would be focused on the reasons for the rally, and Umno-Baru would be forever linked with cheating in elections. Umno-Baru is desperate to deny the opposition the publicity.
A common tactic of Umno-Baru is to give the rally organisers the runaround. Even when Umno-Baru lies, it fails to do it with a concerted effort. When the opposition coalition applied to use Padang Merbok as an alternative venue, the Dang Wangi district police chief Zainuddin Ahmad claimed that another event was scheduled to take place there.
Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar claimed that the opposition’s application was incomplete, while Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor claimed that indoor venues and closed spaces, like stadiums, would be more suitable.
He said: “…..But to me, Padang Merbok is an open space… when it comes to open spaces, we will not give (our permission) because we know the law and abide by it.”
If Tengku Adnan claims to be well-versed with the law and would happily abide by it, what explanations can he give for alleged widespread electoral fraud and cheating during GE13?
How does he explain the money politics which is synonymous with his party Umno-Baru? Can he account for the increasing acts of police brutality which suggest that police personnel are breaking the law and getting away with murder?
Don’t expect reform
Some of you may disagree with street protests but only the naïve would think that GE14 could be the solution. The electoral boundaries are being skewed in Umno Baru’s favour by the Election Commission (EC), even as you read this. Umno Baru and the EC will never negotiate or reform.
How much longer have the marginalised Indians to suffer? How many more election promises will their self-appointed leaders be taken in by? This minority government promised that they would implement many reforms before GE13 if elected; but after the election, they say the implementation will take five years.
In GE11, the EC made a last minute claim that the indelible ink would prevent Muslims from performing their prayers.
In GE12, the EC claimed that there was a national security scare and certain parties were planning to sabotage the elections by marking the fingers of people before they could vote. It was claimed that several people had been arrested while trying to smuggle election ink into Malaysia.
In GE13, the EC diluted the ink, saying it could be harmful.
In GE14, the EC will be just as creative.
It is ironic that, in 2010, Najib Abdul Razak had warned delegates at the BN convention, held in Wisma MCA, that the opposition coalition was attempting to take over Putrajaya and that the federal government had to be protected from the greedy and the power crazy.
He said: “BN is a responsible coalition. You can place your hopes and trust in us. The people can trust us to do not only what is right, but what is in their best interests.”
Around the world, repressive regimes have been toppled by non-violent civil resistance movements – Chile, Poland, South Africa, the Philippines. Armed resistance is not the answer, as military training and the supply of weapons is expensive. Nor should we expect foreign countries to intervene; they have to protect their own interests.
Only we can help ourselves. This sham Malaysian democracy can expect more marches and more resistance from the rakyat.
If Najib continues to exploit the rakyat, it is possible that even the police and security personnel will shift their allegiance and loyalty, as happened in Egypt.
In the current economic climate, the rakyat is forced to tighten its belt further. Graduates are finding it more difficult to get jobs, unlike politicians’ children who are given choice appointments or who become directors of companies with a paid-up capital of RM2, which receive multi-million ringgit government contracts.
Young adults cannot afford to live away from home. Skilled workers are refused employment, as foreign workers, both legal and illegal, are cheaper.
Symbols of oppression
As living conditions become more intolerable, NGOs, human rights activists, students, opposition politicians, religious organisations and the rakyat will unite as one movement against oppression.
Najib can arrest a few such as Adam Adli, Haris Ibrahim, Tian Chua, Safwan Anang or Tamrin Ghafar, but more leaders will emerge.
Thirty-nine years ago, the education minister who gagged our academia and students with the Universities and University Colleges Act was Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Today, Najib will attempt to do the same.
In the Tunisian uprising, Mohammed Bouazizi immolated himself, when the police stopped him from making a living as a street pedlar to feed his family. He became the symbol of the Jasmine revolution.
In the recent protests in Turkey, ‘The Woman in Red’ whose face was sprayed with tear-gas has become a global symbol of police brutality and oppression. The demonstrations, which began as a protest against the redevelopment of a park, have escalated into public fury against the creeping Islamicisation and the increasing authoritarian rule of the government.
In Malaysia, we are not short of symbols of oppression. Two National Union of Bank Employee (Nube) officials, vice-president Abdul Jamil Jalaludeen from Pulau Tikus, Penang and general treasurer Chen Ka Fatt, from Ipoh Garden in Ipoh, were sacked from Maybank because they made a stand against its treatment of workers.
In the late 1970s, as Minister for Trade and Industry, Mahathir clipped the power of unions.
Today, Najib honours Abdul Wahid Omar, who was CEO of Maybank, by making him a minister in the PM’s Department.
Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi may order a crackdown on activists and opposition leaders. In doing so, he will only unleash a more determined rakyat who will retaliate with more marches, boycotts and strikes.
Najib may try to prevent the rakyat and the ‘Black 505′ rally from entering Dataran Merdeka, but he cannot curb our resolve to fight oppression. Perhaps, we should occupy Dataran Merdeka, our metaphorical Berlin Wall.
Najib may surround Dataran Merdeka with razor wire, but he cannot imprison our minds.
Jika perkembangan media Melayu mutakhir ini diperhatikan, sifat-sifat kewarasan, keberkecualian dan kesusilaan sudah jelas tidak wujud.
Sentimen perkauman bagai menjadi kelumrahan media Melayu zaman sekarang, baik di kaca mata televisyen ataupun dalam media cetakan. Nyata trend yang sempit ini sedang diterajui oleh media-media kawalan Umno, khususnya Kumpulan Utusan Melayu.
Sejurus selepas pilihan raya umum ke-13, Utusan Malaysia dengan tidak segannya telah mempersoalkan “Apa lagi Cina mahu?” melalui tajuk berita utama, manakala tabloid Kosmo! yang dimiliki kumpulan yang sama telah meluahkan muka depan yang tidak kurang provokatifnya, yakni, “Pengundi Cina bersikap talam dua muka”.
Jelas, kemenangan undi popular Pakatan Rakyat membuktikan bahawa gabungan parti tersebut telah menerima sokongan yang padu daripada segenap masyarakat Malaysia ? namun hakikat ini langsung diabaikan oleh media kawalan Umno yang tidak ingin menerima kenyataan.
Agenda perkauman kemudian telah diteruskan dengan seruan Awang Selamat, iaitu suara hati lembaga pengarang Utusan, untuk memboikot syarikat penerbangan Air Asia ekoran kritikan seorang pegawai kanannya, Azran Osman-Rani, yang telah mencemuh akhbar Utusan kerana bersifat rasis.
Dan jika itu tidak mencukupi, Utusan kemudiannya menyiarkan kenyataan Perkasa yang menyelar Azran sebagai “bongkak” dan “lupa diri”, serta “mengingatkan” Azran agar tidak sesekali “menyentuh” Utusan Malaysia kerana akhbar itu merupakan satu-satunya wadah yang mempertahankan hak orang Melayu di negara ini, seolah-olah segala kejayaan Azran adalah hasil daripada jasa-jasa akhbar tersebut.
Aduhai, malangnya nasib bangsa sehingga perisai perkauman terpaksa menjadi pelindung kepada umat Melayu. Agaknya, tanpa “perlindungan” daripada wira-wira bangsa seperti Utusan dan Perkasa, tidak mungkin Melayu dapat berjaya atas usaha gigih sendiri ? inilah sebenarnya sikap yang memperlekehkan dan merendahkan martabat bangsa!
Keadaan ini bukan sahaja sangat mendukacitakan, tetapi amat memalukan, khususnya apabila Utusan Malaysia pernah pada suatu ketika dahulu menjadi tonggak dan peneraju kepada suara masyarakat Melayu yang bebas.
Mungkin ramai yang telah lupa peristiwa tahun 1961 apabila pekerja-pekerja Utusan, termasuk tokoh kewartawanan seperti Said Zahari (yang ketika itu Ketua Pengarang), Usman Awang (kini Sasterawan Negara), serta barisan penulis dan wartawan seperti Abu Zaki Fadzil, Awam-il Sarkam, Salleh Yusof, Tajuddin Kahar, Zailani Sulaiman, Rosdin Yaakub dan lain-lain telah melancarkan kempen mogok.
Tujuan mogok tersebut adalah untuk membantah pengambilalihan Utusan oleh Umno yang tidak senang dengan sikap akhbar itu yang kritikal terhadap pemerintah dan pro kepada masyarakat terbanyak.
Akhirnya, 50 tahun kemudian, kekhuatiran Said Zahari, Usman Awang dan para pekerja Utusan pada zaman 60-an yang mahukan Utusan kekal bebas daripada campur tangan politik, sudah pun menjadi kenyataan. Malah, Said Zahari dan Usman Awang tidak mungkin dapat bayangkan betapa corotnya kualiti kewartawanan akhbar yang pernah menjadi perjuangan mereka.
Akibatnya, Utusan sudah hilang wibawa di mata orang Melayu, khasnya golongan kelas menengah seperti Azran yang sudah lelah dengan politik perkauman dan fitnah. Jika tidak kerana langganan kerajaan melalui jabatan-jabatan, agensi-agensi dan anak-anak syarikatnya, Utusan tidak mungkin mampu bernyawa, apatah lagi apabila ia seringkali didapati bersalah oleh mahkamah dan dipaksa untuk membayar ganti rugi kepada mangsa-mangsa fitnahnya (Lim Guan Eng dua kali, Karpal Singh, Khalid Samad, Azan Ismail sebagai contoh-contoh yang terbaru).
Hakikatnya, Utusan yang dahulu menjuarai suara masyarakat terbanyak sudah menjadi alat politik parti konservatif kanan yang ketandusan ilham dan gagal merangkumi gagasan politik baru yang berteraskan idea. Yang paling malangnya, “usaha-usaha murni” Utusan serta puak-puak haluan kanan ini sebenarnya tidak memajukan, malah memperbodohkan bangsa sendiri.
Pada saya, keadaan Utusan Malaysia pada hari ini adalah tragedi yang sangat besar kepada warisan akhbar Melayu. Jalan keluar daripada kemelut ini hanya satu ? media massa di negara kita harus dibebaskan.
Pengalaman di negara-negara lain yang telah beralih daripada media terkongkong kepada media yang bebas telah menunjukkan bahawa akhbar-akhbar yang berpendirian sempit dan berhaluan ekstrim seperti Utusan Malaysia tidak dapat bersaing dan akhirnya akan berhadapan dengan dua pilihan: tukar pendirian atau tutup kedai. Yang berjaya adalah mereka yang mampu memenuhi kehendak pasaran untuk kewartawanan yang lebih objektif.
Jika warisan akhbar Melayu hendak diselamatkan dan kewibawaan dikembalikan, jalannya adalah melalui pembebasan media.
Malaysia’s Opposition will next week file a lawsuit against the Election Commission chairman and deputy chairman for “fraud against the nation”, Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah told an 80,000-strong crowd at a rally to protest the outcome of the recently-concluded 13th general election.
“We will make sure they pay for their criminal acts, we will make sure justice prevails in this country of ours. And when the case goes to court, I urge all Malaysians to turn up to show support to our lawyers.
“And don’t forget, the moment they can, they will call for a Parliament sitting and try to re-delineate some seats. You know what they will do? They know they are strong in seats like Sungei Besar, so they will split Sungei Besar into 2 parliament seats and combine Pandan and Ampang for example. But we will be waiting. We will mobilize the people to protest in large numbers to stop them from this re-delineation.”
“You can cheat the people some of the time but not all the time. So tonight we will gather, we will make sure we know the truth, and we will fight them hard especially to make sure no unfair re-delineation takes place.”
Both the EC chairman Abdul Aziz Yusoff and his deputy Wan Ahmad Wan Omar are no strangers to accusations of bias and vested interests. They are believed to be members of Umno and despite calls for them to quit on the basis of a lack of neutrality, they have refused to do so.
On Monday, first thing to do is to lodge a police report
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s umno-BN coalition won 133 of the federal parliament’s 222 seats and the Pakatan Rakyat led by Anwar Ibrahim 89 seats. However,
Anwar has refused to concede defeat, citing systemic and widespread cheating. The Pakatan plans to file election petitions in at least 27 seats where they claim to have uncovered “conclusive” evidence of vote buying, vote rigging as well as phantom voters. They want re-elections in these seats.
Another key grouse is the indelible used by the EC, which it had promised would stay on for 5 days. However, on the May 5 balloting day the majority of Malaysia’s 13 million-strong electorate found to their shock the ink could be washed off within the hour. This would render the ink useless as a weapon against multiple voting by a single person – the very reason why the ink had been bought for use in the first place.
Also at the same event was Anwar, who is also Nurul’s dad. In his speech, Anwar called on all Malaysians who encountered electoral fraud on balloting day to lodge police reports. This would help to strength the case against the EC, said the 64-year-old.
“On Monday, the first thing you should do is to lodge a police report against the EC,” said Anwar. “Our lawyers are now gathering information. Yes we have more confidence in the people’s court (than the country’s scandal-tainted judiciary) but we have to go through the process.
No plans for BERSIH 4.0 yet: Focus now on people’s Tribunal
Ambiga Sreenvasan, the co-chairman of the BERSIH movement for free and fair polls, also minced no words lambasting the EC’s alleged bias in helping the Umno-BN win through fraud.
In her speech, she spoke of the establishment of a People’s Tribunal to investigate the pile of complaints from the electorate. However, she told Malaysia Chronicle at the sidelines of the rally that her committee was not planning BESIH 4.0 at the moment.
“Don’t give up. We are going to have a People’s Tribunal to tell the truth. They may have the forces but we are going to have the most powerful weapon in our hands. We are going to have truth and we are going to use that. Anyone who has evidence, please come forward and I know you are brave enough to do that,” said Ambiga.
“This Election Commission, if they have any self-respect should resign immediately on this one ground, on the ground of indelible ink. Do you know in my opinion, the indelible ink is a fraud is a fraud on the Malaysian people. They refused to demonstrate (the quality of the ink) and now we know why. Any EC worth its salt would have resigned in embarrassment.”
|Tens of thousands of people held a rally near Malaysia’s capital against alleged electoral fraud, further raising the political temperature after divisive recent polls.
The latest in a series of protest rallies over the May 5 elections – which the opposition says were won fraudulently by the 56-year-old ruling coalition – saw a large crowd gather in an open field outside Kuala Lumpur Saturday night.
Malaysia’s Home Minister Zahid Hamidi had earlier called the rally a “provocation”, coming after four people were arrested including two opposition politicians, actions that sparked allegations of a post-election crackdown on dissent.
There were no reports of any police action against the latest rally, which was to include speeches by top opposition figures including leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Opposition speakers vowed to expose electoral fraud and keep up the pressure on the Barisan Nasional (National Front) government.
“We are never disappointed because we have won decisively, the moral victory. Tough times never last, only tough people do. We will prove to [the government] how tough we are,” Anwar’s daughter, parliament member Nurul Izzah, told the crowd.
Two senior opposition politicians and two activists were detained last week under the Sedition Act for criticising the conduct of the elections. They were later released.
Prime Minister Najib Razak, who before the elections sought to portray himself as a reformer, had pledged last year to repeal the decades-old Sedition Act.
The home ministry last week also said it had seized some 2,500 copies of opposition-party newspapers for allegedly failing to meet printing regulations.
The three-party opposition plans to file court challenges to the result in 27 parliamentary seats. If all are successful, the opposition says it would give them victory.
It is highly unlikely the opposition would prevail, as critics widely accuse the courts and Election Commission of being in thrall to the ruling coalition.
Global rights group Amnesty International urged the Malaysian government Friday to end what it called a “post-election crackdown”, saying it was using the Sedition Act “against peaceful protestors”.
Barisan gained only 46.6 per cent of the popular vote but won a firm majority, which critics blame on Barisan tinkering with districts to give its strongholds more weight.
The opposition claims that, among other problems, voter rolls were full of irregularities. The government denies the election was unfair.
Oppression and intimidation by the Najib regime will not cow Malaysians into submission, polls reform group Bersih 2.0 warned today as it called on the government to stop its nationwide clampdown on opposition supporters.
The group said the recent spate of arrests of key Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders and activists was the regime’s attempt to silent critics of the just-concluded general election, which it maintained was tainted by irregularities, unethical practices and “blatant cheating”.
“Those detained are Malaysians who dare to voice out what have frustrated and angered most Malaysians since the conclusion of the 13th general election,” Bersih 2.0 said in a statement here.
Election 2013 saw the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition returned to power with 133 seats in the 222-set Parliament despite only winning the minority vote.
Pointing to its popular vote score at 51 per cent to BN’s 47 per cent, PR leaders immediately accused its political foes of stealing the elections with fraud and widespread cheating.
The results also sparked the series of “Black 505” rallies nationwide where tens of thousands of supporters have turned up to protest the results of the polls.
The newly-minted BN government under second-term prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak responded by flexing its muscles at the opposition, mounting a widespread clampdown to quell opposition dissent.
Several rally organisers have been hauled up to face the book for allegedly contravening the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011.
“Party organs of the three [PR] parties of PKR, PAS and DAP have been confiscated,” Bersih 2.0 observed.
“Thugs sympathetic to BN have been to open air gatherings organized by civil society to create trouble and to scare speakers and participants from further engaging in their struggles for a clean and fair electoral system, deemed so key to a genuine democracy,” it alleged.
It also pointed to the arrest and use of the Sedition Act to charge student activist Adam Adli earlier this week, and the subsequent detentions of PKR MP Chua Tian Chang, PAS leader Tamrin Ghafar and activist Haris Ibrahim.
All four were hauled in for allegedly uttering seditious remarks by calling on Malaysians to topple the government through street protests.
But Bersih 2.0 said the charges were trumped up, tailored merely to persecute those who dared to expose the manipulations they alleged were perpetrated by BN and the Election Commission (EC) during the May 5 polls.
“Bersih 2.0 is, however, confident that such oppression and intimidation will not succeed,” he said.
“On the contrary, Malaysians will rise up to oppose oppression, intimidation, corruption, torture and gross violation of human rights as perpetrated by the Najib regime.
“They will not relent until there is justice, democracy and equality in Malaysia.”
Another rally, called the “Himpunan Suara Rakyat 505” will be held this evening outside Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya.
Umno’s Utusan Malaysia is fomenting racial sentiments to cover up alleged vote rigging in Election 2013, PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.
The Malay broadsheet front-paged the question “Apa lagi Cina mahu (What else do the Chinese want?) in what appeared to be an attempt to shape the results of the 13th general election, which saw Barisan Nasional’s (BN) worst-ever performance, by pitting Chinese votes vs Malay ones.
“The big mistake that an illegitimate government makes is to deceive people in the election and to whip up racial sentiments to cover up their misdeeds,” said Anwar (picture) at a packed press conference at the PKR headquarters here.
“When Datuk Seri Najib spoke of reconciliation, that I accept, but when he talked about a ‘Chinese tsunami’, that I reject,” he added, referring to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Analysts have said data from voting trends showed that the outcome of Election 2013 was not simply the result of a “Chinese tsunami” as Najib has claimed, but a major swing in the urban and middle-class electorate that saw a widening of the urban-rural gap.
But Utusan Malaysia, a newspaper that has represented the right-wing forces aligned largely with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, published several stories today blaming the Chinese for dividing Malaysia.
In the wrap-around front page today, Utusan Malaysia published a number of photographs which allegedly showed Chinese-looking youths wearing black to protest the results of the election.
The photographs are believed to have been lifted from the Internet and were also used by many right-wing bloggers aligned with Dr Mahathir.
Anwar accused Umno today of playing a “sentiment game”, pointing out thatUtusan Malaysia’s front page was approved by the BN lynchpin.
DAP publicity chief Tony Pua said yesterday that Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) improved performance in Selangor was due to the “massive increase in Malay support”, particularly in the semi-rural belt of the country’s most industrialised state.
DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang has also noted that PR won several Malay-majority federal seats like Kuala Terengganu, Alor Star, Lumut and Sepang.
BN won Election 2013 with a smaller majority than the previous election and failed to retake Selangor and Penang, the two most developed states in the country.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today his rally tomorrow would be the beginning of a “fierce movement” to fight for free and fair elections amid reports of vote-rigging in Election 2013.
The PKR de facto leader, who had led thousands in the “Reformasi” street demonstrations in 1998, also called on Malaysians to wear black or use black insignia to protest alleged electoral fraud in Election 2013.
“This shall be a beginning for a fierce movement to clean this country from election malpractices and fraud, for there is no opportunity for renewal without a clean and fair election,” said Anwar at a packed press conference at the PKR headquarters here.
“I shall address fellow Malaysians tomorrow at Kelana Jaya Stadium at 8.30pm fully dressed in black,” he added.
Anwar noted that the results in some 30 federal constituencies were in doubt, thus affecting the legitimacy of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government that was formed with just 133 seats, 21 seats more than the 112 seats required to win a simple majority.
Anwar said a taskforce headed by PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli was gathering evidence on electoral fraud.
“His team will match the proof against an empirical analysis of the specific constituency result to highlight the constituencies whose result is in dispute,” he said.
BN won Election 2013 with a smaller majority than the previous election, ceding an additional seven federal seats to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) that took home 89 seats in total.
Black profile pictures have popped up on Facebook in the wake of Sunday’s polls as Malaysians took to the social networking site to protest reports of vote-buying, phantom voters and washable indelible ink in the 13th general election.
Some Facebook users have also sported profile pictures with the words “Democracy is dead”, while others have flooded US President Barack Obama’s Facebook page with requests to intervene following the disputed results of Election 2013.
When asked if he could guarantee that there would be no street protests, Anwar said: “Talk to the people, ask them to guarantee.”
Anwar said the people’s sentiments about being “robbed” of the country’s legitimate government were growing stronger.
He also pointed out that the Election Commission (EC) has failed to implement polls watchdog Bersih’s eight demands for a free and fair election.
“In fact, the EC could not even implement a simple use of indelible ink and the chairman fumbled miserably to provide a logical explanation for the failure,” said Anwar.
“It is therefore a dictate of our conscience to reject the election result until it is rectified and a reasonable justification is provided by the EC,” he added.
Bersih has similarly refused to recognise the BN government until it verified reports of vote-rigging.
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