Now that the dust has settled, time to take a closer look at this election.
(Kuala Lumpur =Koreanpress) by Ramani Rathir =Finally after months of speculation and waiting, Malaysia’s 13th General Elections was finally over on May 5th. 2013.
There was a record 80 per cent turnout from the 12.9 million voters. This gave Barisan Nasional (BN)133 seats from a total of 222 Parliament seats. The Opposition took the balance 89 seats. A tabulation when all results were in showed BN polled 5.220 million votes to Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) 5.489 million, for a deficit of 269,130 votes. The nail-biting close results that gave BN victories reveal hardcore support for either coalitions, pushing Malaysia towards a two-party system in Malaysia.
These voters have now effectively divided the country into two, and one must say, without any violence. One is from the Malay heartland. It swung back to BN, won over by Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia campaign and all those cash handouts legally. This strategy gave back Kedah to BN.
The other Malaysia is the more urban and more pronounced multiracial Malaysia. The urban poor Malay rejected BN despite the offerings of affordable housing, rebates and handouts. There is no doubt some of these voters did accept those legal cash payouts when handed to them but come voting time, their votes were for the PR. They handed over more federal and state seats to PR in cities and towns.
It was a reflection of a more clear rural-urban divide of a Malaysia taht is moving swiftly into fully developed-nation status. The rural support for Najib gave him a breather taht now allows him to run the country for another five years, despite a much smaller majority of Federal seats in Parliament.
The elections also forced the Malays to choose between a BN that has been developing Malaysia without a break for 56 years and PR which promised to clear the country of nepotism, cronyism and corruption. It was a case of divided loyalties with BN emerging as the winner.
True, BN now rules the country. But that divided loyalty has helped the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and PKR pick up a nett increase of seats in the House of Parliament until the next election rolls in five years from now.
As for PAS, it lost seats because there was no fallout from BN votes. Also its strong stand on implementation of hudud laws and Islamic ideology scared of a number of non-Malay voters. R. Ramasamy, a retiree after voting for Keadilan for a state seat, and faced with the choice of voting for either BN or PAS in Parliament, did so for BN.
But the tussle for state seats is a different picture. BN, out of the 505 state seats, could only take 275. That left 230 state seats in the PR court. Clearly the issue of race and religion had faded into the background and it has now become the issue of haves and have-nots. A class war in the making. One analyst averred taht BN got Kedah back due to the poor performance of PAS and not because of their innate liking for BN.
This wider acquisition of state seats by PR shows that it is getting support from a broader range of people from various races and from all over the country. The party’s deeper inroads into East Malaysia is indicative of this change. BN will have to strategise for both Federal and State seats in the future. The steady loss of Federal seats should certainly be a matter of concern as it will cause a reshuffling within the ranks of its own coalition.
It has to be admitted that BN had a hard-fought polls battle and survived. One major blow was the swing of Chinese voters away from the Malaysian Chinese Association(MCS). DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang promised a tsunami and that is what happened with BN losing major seats such as Kluang, Kulai and Gelang Patah. It saw the fall of one more BN heavyweight, Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, the state’s four-term Mentri Besar.
Lim Kit Siang was quick to debunk his political rival, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek accusation that DAP won Chinese voters over by frightening them with race politics. “They had a choice of two coalitions – Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional – this time they chose us,” he answered.
Another big fight that drew vast attention was between PKR incumbent Nurul Izzah Anwar and BN’s Datuk Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin. The latter projected himself as a champion of the Pantai low-cost flat dwellers, while the former had the support of the upper class Bangsar residents.
Nurul Izzah complained at the lack of fair play in the battle for votes. She drew attention to what she felt was the list of 5,000 dubious voters who could not be traced. On top of which was the hefty cash handouts by the Federal Government to some 200,000 households in her constituency. She also alleged Datuk Raja Nong of using his position as a Cabinet Minister to block her access to government facilities and hamper her efforts to carry out projects as a MP.The eldest daughter of Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, however managed to retain her Lembah Pantai Federal seat in one of the fiercest fights of the general election. She won on a 1,847margin, taking in 31,008 votes against her opponent’s 29,161 votes..
Meanwhile PR de facto leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has rejected the results of the poll, asserting there were still unanswered allegations on electoral fraud. At his press conference, he reiterated,“As of now, we are not accepting the results... until the Election Commission(EC) responds and issues an official statement to the allegations of irregularities and fraud.”
Anwar has accused BN of flying in ‘voters’ from East Malaysia. He feels over 40,000 dubious voters, including foreigners from Sabah and Sarawak, have been flown into key states, mainly Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. Umno Secretary-General, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has admitted that voters were flown into the peninsula, but insisted that the flights were sponsored by “friends” of BN as part of the party’s campaign for the 2013 elections. Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, who holds the co-chair of polls watchdog, stronlgy felt that it was “treason” to transfer foreigners from East Malaysia and hold them in immigration depots until voting time.
In a strange twist, two Malaysians who had the misfortune to look like Bangladeshis had a harrowing experience. Local voters on seeing them in line, accused them of being phantom voters. The two showed their identity cards but were accused of holding fakes. Then they were set upon and beaten up. This incident just goes to shows Malaysian voters were getting fed up with the dishonest antics of political parties and politicians. While our sympathy goes out to the two Malaysians, voters can feel elated that Malaysians as a whole want clean eelctions.
Another reason such allegations were made was the incident where fifteen PKR counting agents were ordered to leave the Lembah Pantai counting centre at SM Seri Pantai for a while after voting closed at 5pm, the party’s communications bureau revealed. The reason given was the EC officers inside the centre needed to “rest.” The PKR agents refused , insisting that they had the right to observe all of the voting process and needed to keep an eye on ballot boxes at all times.
Marking voters fingers with indelible ink was to prevent anyone from voting twice or more. But it was shown the ink could be easily washed off, opening the way for anyone to cast ballots twice. The answer given by the EC to Bersih’s Datuk Ambiga’s query was the balloting officer had forgotten to shake the bottle.
Another negative aspect was Factbook postings of a video showing an alleged foreigner being booed off an unidentified polling station by voters.
The spectre of phantom voters continued with PKR’s Rafizi Ramli ‘s police report of ‘voters’ being registered to two PKR members’ home addresses. K. Sivaprakasam, 60, and Seok Leong Yew, 43, said that they received letters from BN officials containing names of voters who were allegedly registered to their home addresses.
“When I opened the letter, it contained the voter details of one Chen Yew Fai, whom I don’t even know but is registered to my house address,” Seok revealed to reporters outside the Ampang Jaya police district headquarters. Sivaprakasam said the same of two individuals, Lim Kim Lung and How Sai Choo, both of whom were registered to his home in Pandan Indah.
Najib has declared taht BN had nothing to do with these allegations of phantom voters. Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had assured that no foreigners would be able to vote in the polls and police would act if here was any electoral fraud. He has so far not received any police reports on phantom voters.
Perhaps whose who thought of using this ploy should have been aware of the Anything But Umno (ABU) group. It put up banners throughout the peninsula, telling foreigners not to vote in Election 2013, warning that they would be handed over to the police if caught. And one suspects but not before being given a severe beating.
Latest reports are that two bags of voting papers fell off a helicopter in the Klang Valley. No one has a clue where the helicopter came from or why the bags fell out. Then in Lemba Pantai, two more bags of voting slips were found in a car boot.
Will the Opposition blow these incidents up? Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wants the allegations thrown at BN viz. GE13 checked. Meanwhile netizens are indicating the mood of the country after the elections.
Some say,”BN won. Congrats. PR lost but put up a good fight. All in I hope politicians get the message that they are there because we put them there.”Another said,” Anyway, Congratulations Najib Razak. We want some new ideas and plans that can make Malaysia the best compared to other Asian countries.”
However, Barisan's win also drew angry reactions, mainly due to alleged rigging of votes, unexplained black out incidences in several polling stations. (Suddenly, after the lights came on there were some new polling boxes on the tables.) or “Malaysians” unable to recite the Rukun Negara. Such a high degree of disgust has risen that Netizens are 'blacking out’ their Facebook profile pictures as a sign of protest.
The future of Malaysia is getting more worrying now. More than ever. Afriza
One thing for sure, Election 13 had done enough damage to our racial unity. Let's fix this up and put a fullstop to all this fighting.
Although I am not Msian, am disappointed with election results nevertheless. Msians don't deserve dirty underhand politicking! Shesohaha
However t here were some Malaysians who were more philosophical.
Have faith... Every change, every revolution has to start some where
lBN has won the Parliament, but PR has won Malaysia. Chin up, friends. We can change this. Wen Yi Tee.
Whatever our internal squabbles, the outside world would prefer that there be no change of government. That BN continue into another unbroken record of 61 years of rule, seems to be the preference.
The minute it became clear BN had won the general elections, the ringgit strengthened against major currencies.
It traded at RM3.0060 versus the US dollar, RM3.9433 to the euro and RM4.6805 against the pound sterling. Against the yen, the ringgit changed at RM3.0330, RM 2.4391 against the Singapore dollar and RM3.0949 to the Australian dollar.
In conclusion, now that the GE2013 is over, will Malaysians and political parties put aside their differences and work for the betterment of the country? Or sink into endless bickering? The next few months will be crucial for Najib and the direction he is taking