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28 May 2013

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eurasiareview

Malaysia’s much anticipated 13th general election saw a rise in citizen participation. This poses a new challenge for the country’s political elite: how to respond to this change.

Malaysia

MALAYSIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHILE MALAYSIA’S 13th general election saw an intense contest between the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) what is of equal significance has been the participation of ordinary citizens in the process. In the run-up to the elections, many have taken the initiative to be involved – in many different ways through different channels.

The numbers who turned out to vote on 5 May 2013 perhaps reflect this shift in political activism. According to the Election Commission, 85 per cent cast their votes for parliamentary seats while 86 per cent for the state legislative assembly seats. This was the highest number of votes cast in any general election in the country’s history. Many researchers have referred to this as the “people’s election”.

A rapidly changing political landscape

While the country is seeing the beginnings of a new political environment the question remains: how should its political elite respond to such trends?

Recent global events from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Wall Street movement have given the world unexpected glimpses of the power of citizen participation; where demonstrating masses with the means of the Internet as a tool are able to play a significant part in the overthrow of long-standing regimes or in spreading the cause of a movement to many parts of the world.

While many have pointed to the increase in Internet connectivity as one of the main causes of these examples of citizen activism, opinion remains divided. Some analysts caution against reading too much into the effects of the Internet and social media in particular, citing the phenomenon of “clicktivism” as akin to being mere “armchair activists or politicians”. They argue that social media provides the means for an easy response which does not translate to actual and substantial participation. However, others are more inclined towards the notion that the improvements in information and communication technologies have empowered the average citizen.

They note that the increase in Internet connectivity has reduced the cost of access to information and networking opportunities, paving the way to new heights in citizen participation. Whichever the case, it appeared that few governments caught up in the Arab Spring saw the signs of these changes and even fewer knew how to manage it effectively.

For Malaysia, an increasingly active citizenry has appeared in the country’s political landscape. While the political parties battle it out in the traditional manner of campaign rallies, banners and speeches in mainstream media, the cyberspace was abuzz with Malaysians opining, promoting or assisting others in the run-up to the elections. What is noteworthy is the diverse ways in which citizens have chosen to play their parts in these elections.

Electoral reform campaigns helmed by the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) took on a global character with similar rallies and gatherings being carried out in a number of countries by many interested Malaysians. In the run-up to the elections, various online social initiatives sprung up to provide assistance such as transport arrangements for Malaysians who were planning to return and vote. For example, the Bersih Singapore group coordinated a carpool matching service for Malaysians returning from Singapore to vote. Another example is the “Jom Balik Undi” (Let’s go back to vote’) campaign started on Facebook, an initiative to encourage overseas Malaysians to return and vote.

Courting the active stakeholders

Apart from this, there are citizens who chose to participate in a more direct manner: many have spent their time training and volunteering as polling agents or as citizen election observers under initiatives run by a number of civil society groups such as the Merdeka Centre and Ideas.

The increasingly active political landscape has not escaped the attention of the country’s political establishment. Many of the country’s political parties and politicians have Facebook and twitter accounts, from the Prime Minister himself to prominent members of the opposition parties. While ordinary citizens can connect with politicians and receive updated news, whether this sufficiently engages today’s politically active citizens is unclear. Why does this matter?

Social media analysts have predicted a worldwide trend emerging, leading to a time when almost everyone on earth will be connected through advancement in technology. This will bring about profound effects on many established concepts such as citizenship and governance, significantly reallocating the concentration of power from states and institutions to the people. In such a case, established institutions and hierarchies would have to learn to adapt or risk becoming obsolete.

Malaysia on the cusp of change

Malaysia’s political landscape appears to be on the cusp of change: as the country’s citizens become more technologically empowered to take action there is a need to rethink the ways in which to engage such communities. The means to do so look set to be the beginning of a journey in redefining the relationship between the country’s political elite and its citizens.

At this juncture, two observations can be made. Firstly, the trend shows a level of participation that transcends just following tweets or updates. The underlying motivation appears to be one of active engagement, of a deeper and more committed involvement in issues that matter. Hence, new ways of engaging these citizens need to be considered.

Secondly but more importantly, channelling the commitment and energies of such groups should be seen to be beneficial to the nation as a whole. What is not helpful is to wrongly interpret such involvement as being in any way partisan or anti-establishment. This would just act to alienate genuine interest that would bring the country to higher levels of democratic maturity – in line with what may already be happening globally.

Yeap Su Yin is an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.

24 May 2013

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Malaysiakini

PKR hari ini mula mendedahkan dakwaan penipuan pilihan raya secara terperinci, bermula dengan kawasan parlimen Balik Pulau di Pulau Pinang di mana ia mendakwa terdapat lebih jumlah undi daripada kertas undi yang dikeluarkan.

NONEPengarah Strategi PKR, Rafizi Ramli mendakwa di saluran dua pusat mengundi di SJK (C) Yu Chye, Borang 13 menunjukkan sejumlah 424 kertas undi telah dikeluarkan.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, selepas perjumlahan keputusan dibuat, Borang 14 menunjukkan sebanyak 562 undi dalam peti undi tersebut, lebih 138 undi daripada kertas undi apa yang telah dikeluarkan.

Menurutnya, dengan majoriti yang kecil dan jumlah undi rosak yang tinggi, maka keputusan di saluran dua, cukup untuk mengubah keputusan di kawasan parlimen Balik Pulau dan kerusi negeri di Telok Bahang.

Rafizi memberitahu demikian dalam satu sidang akhbar di ibu pejabat PKR pagi ini.

21 May 2013

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The White House

President Obama called Prime Minister Najib on the evening of May 13 to congratulate him on his victory in parliamentary elections and to reaffirm the strong bonds of friendship between the United States and Malaysia.  The President noted that Malaysians had turned out in record numbers to vote and welcomed the Prime Minister’s efforts to address concerns about election irregularities. The two leaders discussed the importance of continuing to deepen our bilateral cooperation, including on expanding cooperation on trade, regional security, and multilateral cooperation.

21 May 2013

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[TERJEMAHAN]

The White House

Bagi pihak Presiden dan rakyat Amerika Syarikat, kami mengucapkan tahniah kepada Perdana Menteri Najib atas kemenangan koalisinya dalam pilihanraya Parlimen pada hari Ahad, 5 Mei. Kami juga ingin mengucapkan tahniah kepada rakyat Malaysia kerana peratusan keluar mengundi yang tinggi, dan juga kepada parti-parti pembangkang untuk kempen mereka, kerana pembangkang yang teguh adalah batu asas kepada demokrasi. Kami juga sedar bahawa terdapat laporan tentang berlakunya penipuan dalam proses pilihanraya, dan percaya bahawa ianya sangat penting bagi pihak bertanggungjawab menyelesaikan isu-isu yang berbangkit. Kami menanti hasil siasatan mereka. Amerika Syarikat akan meneruskan hubungan yang rapat antara kerajaan dan rakyat Malaysia demi mengukuhkan demokrasi, keamanan dan kemakmuran di rantau ini.

21 May 2013

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The White House

On behalf of the President and the people of the United States, we congratulate Prime Minister Najib on his coalition’s victory in Malaysia’s parliamentary elections on Sunday May 5.  We also congratulate the people of Malaysia, who turned out in record numbers to cast their votes, as well as the parties of the opposition coalition on their campaigns, as a vibrant opposition is a foundation of democracy.  We note concerns regarding reported irregularities in the conduct of the election, and believe it is important that Malaysian authorities address concerns that have been raised.  We look forward to the outcome of their investigations.  The United States looks forward to continuing its close cooperation with the government and the people of Malaysia to continue to strengthen democracy, peace, and prosperity in the region.

17 May 2013

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KPRU

Pelaksanaan Pilihan Raya Umum (PRU-13) yang dicemari oleh pelbagai penipuan dan kontroversi mengakibatkan kebebasan dan keadilan Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) dipersoal oleh para pengundi dan rakyat Malaysia. Ia juga mendedahkan sektor awam yang diperkudakan oleh kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) selama setengah abad merentasi sempadan antara negara dan antara parti politik. Bersama kerjasama SPR sewaktu PRU-13 ini, BN berjaya mengekalkan kuasa mentadbir walaupun kadar sokongan BN dalam keputusan PRU-13 telah jatuh kepada kurang daripada separuh.

Pengerusi BN Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak menyalahkan keputusan PRU-13 kepada “tsunami Cina”. BN mendakwa walaupun mereka gagal meraih sokongan etnik Cina, BN sebenarnya meraih sokongan daripada kumpulan etnik yang lain. Dalam dunia politik BN selama setengah abad ini, rejim pemerintah telah bergabung dengan sektor awam sambil mempromosi ideologi politik BN melalui media-media arus perdana bahawa erti BN adalah persamaan dengan maksud sebuah negara atau nasional dan bukannya sebuah parti politik semata-mata. Begitu juga, BN turut memanipulasi sektor awam seperti Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) dan SPR untuk melaksanakan pelbagai tipu helah dalam pilihan raya di samping menimbulkan konstroversi insiden-insiden keganasan politik.

Badan pemikir Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU) mendapati bahawa BN mendakwa mereka telah meraih sokongan daripada etnik lain selain daripada etnik Cina, lantas, ini mengakibatkan rejim BN mengekalkan status politik mereka dalam PRU ini. Namun begitu, kadar sokongan dan jumlah kerusi di negeri Perak dan Negeri Sembilan tidak selari jika ianya dibandingkan dengan negeri-negeri yang lain. Secara amnya, pertumbuhan kadar sokongan akan membawa peningkatan jumlah kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN). Namun keadaan tersebut tidak dilihat dalam PRU-13 ini.

Sebagai contoh negeri Perlis (Sila lihat Jadual 1) melihatkan Pakatan Rakyat (PAKATAN) hanya meraih satu kerusi DUN di Perlis menjelang PRU-12 pada tahun 2008, di mana kadar sokongan menyumbang sebanyak 39.9 peratus. Manakala, dalam PRU-13 ini, PAKATAN meraih dua kerusi DUN, lantas kadar sokongan adalah selari dengan jumlah kerusi DUN kerana sokongan melonjak sebanyak 44.3 peratus.  Sebaliknya, kadar sokongan kepada BN menurun sebanyak 4.8 peratus daripada 60.1 peratus tahun 2008 kepada 55.4 peratus pada tahun 2013. Ini melihatkan kadar sokongan selari dengan penurunan jumlah kerusi DUN. Namun, dengan anehnya, negeri Perak dan Negeri Sembilan mengalami satu fenomena yang berbeza daripada negeri-negeri lain; iaitu PAKATAN mengalami peningkatan kadar sokongan tetapi jumlah kerusi DUN telah dikurangkan dalam negeri-negeri tersebut.

Kadar undi meningkat tapi jumlah kerusi menurun?

 

Jadual 1?Kadar pengundian dan Jumlah kerusi antara PAKATAN dan BN

2013

2008

Peningkatan/

Penurunan

Jumlah kerusi DUN

Peningkatan/

Penurunan

Kadar Sokongan undian

BN

PAKATAN

BN

PAKATAN

BN

PAKATAN

BN PAKATAN
Negeri Jumlah Kerusi DUN Kadar Sokongan Undian (%) Jumlah Kerusi 

DUN

Kadar Sokongan Undian (%) Jumlah Kerusi 

DUN

Kadar Sokongan Undian (%) Jumlah Kerusi 

DUN

Kadar Sokongan Undian (%) Jumlah Kerusi 

DUN

Jumlah Kerusi 

DUN

Kadar Sokongan Undian (%)

Kadar Sokongan Undian

(%)

Perlis

13

55.4

2

44.3

14

60.1

1

39.9

-1

1

-4.8

4.4

Kedah

21

50.6

15

48.5

15

46.8

21

53.2

6

-6

3.8

-4.7

Kelantan

12

43

33

53.7

6

44.7

39

55

6

-6

-1.8

-1.3

Terengganu

17

51.4

15

48.5

24

55.1

8

44.7

-7

7

-3.7

3.7

P.Pinang

10

31.6

30

67.8

11

36.9

29

63

-1

1

-5.3

4.8

Perak

31

44.9

28

54.7

26

46.5

33

53.3

5

-5

-1.6

1.4

Pahang

30

55.2

12

44.4

38

59.5

4

40.5

-8

8

-4.3

3.8

Selangor

12

39

44

59.4

20

44.3

36

55.4

-8

8

-5.3

4

N. Sembilan

22

51

14

47.3

21

54.7

15

45.1

1

-1

-3.7

2.2

Melaka

21

53.8

7

46.2

23

57.4

5

42.6

-2

2

-3.6

3.6

Johor

38

54.9

18

45

50

65.3

6

34.7

-12

12

-10.3

10.3

Sabah

49

55

11

35.9

59

61.6

1

32.5

-10

10

-6.6

3.4

Malaysia

276

47.4

229

50.9

307

51.4

198

47.6

-31

31

-4

3.2

Nota: Calon parti STAR yang memenangi kerusi DUN di Sabah pada PRU-13 dan calon bebas yang memenangi kerusi DUN di Kedah dan Pahang pada PRU-12 digolongkan bersama jumlah kerusi BN.

Sumber: laman web SPR dan akhbar bahasa Cina.

 

Rajah 1: Penurunan Kerusi DUN dibandingkan dengan Peningkatan Kadar Sokongan PAKATAN di Negeri Sembilan

 Negeri sembilan

 

 

PAKATAN memenangi sejumlah 15 kerusi DUN di Negeri Sembilan (Rajah 1) menjelang PRU-12 tahun 2008. Kadar sokongan kepada PAKATAN pada PRU-12 adalah sebanyak 45.1 peratus. Pada PRU-13 baru-baru ini, PAKATAN hanya memenangi 14 kerusi DUN di Negeri Sembilan, namun begitu, kadar sokongan telah meningkat kepada 47.3 peratus. Sebaliknya, BN memenangi sejumlah 21 kerusi DUN di Negeri Sembilan pada PRU-13 dan kadar sokongan kepada BN adalah sebanyak 54.7 peratus. Walaupun dengan kemenangan tambahan 1 kerusi pada PRU-13, kadar sokongan kepada BN sebenarnya menurun daripada 54.7 peratus kepada 51 peratus, iaitu penurunan sebanyak 3.7 peratus. Di samping itu, Perak juga mengalami keadaan yang sama dengan Negeri Sembilan; iaitu kadar sokongan yang tidak selari dengan jumlah kerusi yang dimenangi.

 

Rajah 2: Penurunan Kerusi DUN dibandingkan dengan Peningkatan Kadar Sokongan PAKATAN di Perak

perak2

 

PAKATAN memenangi sejumlah 33 kerusi negeri di Perak pada PRU-12 tahun 2008 (Rajah 2), dengan kadar sokongan mencapai 53.3 peratus. Lantas, PAKATAN berjaya merampas rejim kerajaan negeri Perak dari BN. Walau bagaimanapun, pada tahun 2013, PAKATAN hanya memenangi 28 kerusi negeri di Perak, iaitu penurunan sebanyak 5 kerusi negeri. Akan tetapi pada masa yang sama, kadar sokongan kepada PAKATAN telah meningkat kepada 54.7 peratus.

Sebaliknya, BN memenangi 26 kerusi DUN Perak pada tahun 2008, dengan kadar undi sebanyak 46.5 peratus. Ini melihatkan BN memenangi sejumlah 31 kerusi DUN dengan peningkatan sebanyak 5 kerusi pada PRU-13 ini. Akan tetapi pada realitinya, kadar undi BN dilihat menurun daripada 46.5 peratus kepada 44.9 peratus. Walaupun kadar sokongan adalah petunjuk sebagai hala tuju sokongan rakyat terhadap sesebuah parti politik, akan tetapi penurunan kadar undi ini telah memberikan BN kemenangan kuasa politik di Perak dalam PRU-13!

PAKATAN mengambil alih kerajaan negeri Perak daripada cengkaman BN pada tahun 2008 dengan kemenangan sebanyak 33 kerusi DUN. Namun begitu, BN menggunakan cara licik dan tidak beretika untuk merampas kembali kuasa pentadbiran kerajaan negeri PAKATAN di Perak dengan menyebabkan 4 anggota Ahli DUN PAKATAN keluar daripada PAKATAN dan memberi sokongan kepada BN. Insiden ini telah menidakkan Perlembangaan Persekutuan dan mengabaikan prinsip demokrasi rakyat memilih PAKATAN sebagai kerajaan negeri dan pelantikan Menteri Besar oleh PAKATAN.

Mahkamah Persekutuan kemudiannya memberi pengiktirafan kepada keputusan Sultan negeri Perak yang mengabaikan Perlembangan Persekutuan dan membawa kepada punca PAKATAN kehilangan kuasa politik di Perak selepas 11 bulan mentadbir.

 

PRU13 ‘ibu segala penipuan’

Insiden rampasan kuasa pentadbiran kerajaan negeri di Perak adalah satu contoh baik menunjukkan usaha BN menghalang PAKATAN mengambil alih kuasa pentadbiran daripada tangan BN kerana ianya melihatkan BN sebagai sebuah parti politik yang sanggup memperkudakan kuasa sektor awam dan insititusi raja yang sepatutnya menegakkan prinsip keadilan dan kesaksamaan demi kepentingan politik tersendiri. Menjelang PRU-13 ini, ianya dapat dilihat bahawa kadar sokongan dan jumlah kerusi DUN yang diraih oleh PAKATAN adalah tidak selari di samping ianya turut mendedahkan kewujudan penipuan dalam pilihan raya yang membawa kesan negatif kepada ketelusan pelaksanaan PRU-13.

Pada PRU-13 ini, BN berjaya mengekalkan status politik mereka akan tetapi kejayaan tersebut diselitkan dengan kemenangan yang tipis iaitu hanya kemenangan 133 kerusi Parlimen daripada 222 kerusi Parlimen. Berbanding dengan PRU 2008, BN kali ini mengalami kehilangan sebanyak 7 kerusi Parlimen dan 31 kerusi DUN di seluruh negara. Kadar sokongan BN daripada 51.4 peratus juga menurun kepada 47.7 peratus.  Sebaliknya, kadar undi PAKATAN meningkat daripada 47.6 peratus pada tahun 2008 kepada 50.9 peratus pada tahun 2013. Lantas, ianya dapat dilihat bahawa PAKATAN berjaya meraih lebih dari separuh sokongan para pengundi. Namun, PAKATAN masih gagal untuk mengambil alih kuasa pentadbiran kerajaan pusat. Ini berpunca daripada SPR yang memainkan peranan bersekongkol dengan rejim pemerintah,  dan melaksanakan sistem pilihan raya yang tidak adil.

Kontroversi-kontroversi lain PRU-13 termasuklah dakwat kekal yang didakwa senang dicuci, pekerja asing yang disyaki turut mengundi, dakwaan SPR menandatangani borang 14 sebelum kiraan undi atau tidak memberikan salinan borang 14 selepas kiraan undi, insiden-insiden keganasan politik, dan Kelab Kebajikan Pulau Pinang 1Malaysia pro-BN yang didakwa memberikan sogokan wang tunai kepada para penduduk kawasan DUN Air Putih, iaitu kawasan yang dimenangi oleh Lim Guan Eng pada tahun 2008.

Pelbagai insiden di atas menunjukkan SPR bersifat berat sebelah dan  ini bersama faktor-faktor yang telah dinyatakan membawa BN kepada pentadbiran berterusan selama 56 tahun sambil menikmati keistimewaan-keistimewaan politik. Pada masa yang sama, BN menggunakan tipu helah tidak beretika untuk memastikan pentas persaingan antara PAKATAN dan BN tidak adil mahupun sama rata. Keadaan ini, sekali dengan sistem first-past-the-post yang mnguntungkan rejim pemerintah, akhirnya membawa kepada keputusan PRU yang tidak munsabah aneh iaitu peningkatan dalam kadar sokongan dan undian kepada PAKATAN, pada masa yang sama, jumlah kerusi DUN dikurangkan.

KPRU mempercayai bahawa jika masalah struktur melibatkan sektor awam, terutamanya SPR yang terus menuruti pucuk pimpinan BN, maka impian rakyat bagi perubahan rejim atau pertukaran kerajaan tidak akan tercapai. SPR telah mengabaikan dakwaan-dakwaan penipuan dalam pilihan raya dengan kerap. Dakwaan-dakwaan yang telah diabaikan termasuklah pendaftaran undian yang mencurigakan iaitu dakwaan pendaftaran berulang warga Sabah dan Sarawak di negeri-negeri lain, isu penyempadanan semula kawasan pilihanraya, dan dakwaan keputusan pengundi pos pengundi di luar negara dan tentera yang tidak telus.

Oleh sedemikian rupa, sistem pilihan raya yang tidak adil mengakibatkan kekalahan kepada PAKATAN walaupun PAKATAN telah meraih sokongan yang lebih daripada separuh para pengundi serta kegagalan PAKATAN untuk mengambil alih kuasa pentadbiran negara ini dengan berpaksikan prinsip demokrasi, iaitu kemenangan majoriti pengundi.

Pengerusi SPR, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof dan Timbalan Pengerusi SPR Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar telah didedahkan sebagai bekas ahli parti UMNO. Mereka kemudiannya menggunakan taktik pendirian “tidak ingat” dan “tidak pernah membayar yuran keahlian tahunan” sebagai alasan untuk terus menyandang jawatan-jawatan sebagai Pengerusi dan Timbalan Pengerusi SPR.

Namun, PRU-13 telah membuktikan SPR tidak boleh melaksanakan tugas-tugas mereka secara profesional kerana akibat latar belakang parti politik kedua-dua pegawai senior mereka yang mempengaruhi kebolehan melaksanakan tanggungjawab mereka secara telus. Ini adalah kerana Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof dan Wan Ahmad Wan Omar telah membiarkan penipuan berlaku sepanjang tempoh pilihan raya PRU-13 ini tanpa sebarang perasaan bersalah.

KPRU mempercayai SPR dan JPN telah menjadi pembela kuasa pentadbiran BN sewaktu pentadbiran berterusan BN selama 56 tahun. Oleh itu, demi menegakkan prinsip-prinsip demokrasi dan pilihan raya yang adil dan saksama, SPR mestilah diperbaharui dengan menangani segala kelemahan dalam struktur organisasi dan pentadbiran. Selain itu sektor awam juga memerlukan penstrukturan semula dan menamatkan fenomena amalan kronisme.

 

Penutup

Pasca PRU-13, PAKATAN mengadakan Perhimpunan Suara Rakyat Suara Keramat di seluruh negara dan usaha PAKATAN ini berjaya meraih sambutan bersemangat daripada rakyat Malaysia. Ini menunjukkan rakyat seluruh negara menuntut sistem pilihan raya yang adil dan saksama. Di samping itu, Pasukan Siasatan PRU-13 PAKATAN dijangka membuat rayuan di mahkamah mengenai keputusan 27 kerusi Parlimen PRU-13 pada hujung bulan Mei ini.  27 kerusi Parlimen tersebut melibatkan kerusi-kerusi yang meraih kemenangan tipis termasuklah kerusi di Machang, Bentong, Pasir Gudang, Titiwangsa, Bagan Serai, Setiawangsa, Segamat, Balik Pulau, Kuala Kangsar, Kulim-Bandar Baru dan lain-lain.

Akan tetapi, sebarang peluang untuk memperbetulkan keputusan PRU-13 adalah sangat tipis di bawah rejim pentadbiran BN.  Walau bagaimanapun, perhimpunan yang diadakan di setiap negeri dan usaha PAKATAN untuk menuntut PRU yang adil di bawah undang-undang telah menonjolkan sikap tidak putus asa PAKATAN dan rakyat untuk melindungi hak-hak dan kepentingan rakyat di bawah sistem demokrasi demi masa hadapan Malaysia.

Akhir kata, KPRU berpendapat walaupun rakyat Malaysia mengidamkan PRU-14 nanti akan berjaya membawa kepada perubahan rejim atau pertukaran kerajaan bagi mengakhiri rejim BN; akan tetapi jika JPN meneruskan tindakan memberi kad pengenalan kepada warga asing dan bukannya warga Malaysia, disamping SPR terus mengabaikan tututan PAKATAN dan Gabungan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih) untuk mengemaskini senarai nama pengundi, menutup sebelah mata kepada insiden penipuan pilihan raya dan pihak berkuasa yang tidak menangani masalah keganasan politik, maka sebarang pertukaran kerajaan atau penukaran rejim, sebagai proses bagi negara demokrasi tidak akan berlaku di Malaysia walaupun negara ini digelar sebagai sebuah negara demokrasi.

Rakyat Malaysia kini berhadapan masalah struktur institusi awam yang genting. Sebarang reformasi atau perubahan dalam jangka masa lima tahun ini hanya akan tercapai jika BN mempunyai kesedaran untuk melakukan sebarang reformasi atau perubahan kepada masalah-masalah ini. Kegagalan atau keengganan BN untuk menyedari fakta ini hanya akan membawa kekecewaan kepada rakyat Malaysia tidak kira sama pada masa kini atau dalam jangka masa lima tahun akan datang.

13 May 2013

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The Malaysian Insider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 May 2013

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The Malaysian Insider

anwar-ibrahim-damansara-29042013-reuters

 

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim appeared to have backed his confidant Azmin Ali in calling for a consultation process for the Selangor mentri besar post after the latter claimed Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s candidacy had bypassed the democratic process.

The PKR advisor also appeared to have suggested that the party were considering removing Abdul Khalid when he told Sinar Harian that the consultation should include discussions on other possible candidates for the job.

“I have no problem with Tan Sri Khalid. But the problem is… there is no problem but there should be consultation. Are there other names? New faces? Do we continue?” Sinar Harian quoted him as saying.

Anwar (picture), however, added that they will solve the debacle within these few days.

The tussle over the mentri besar post has pushed PKR into a leadership crisis with its deputy president now openly accusing the party of “nepotism” when he alleged it had bypassed the consultation process in picking Abdul Khalid for the job.

Azmin also appeared to question Abdul Khalid’s leadership at a press conference yesterday, and said he was seeking a meeting with PKR’s national leaders for a consensus decision to be made on who gets to be the new Selangor MB.

The debacle has sparked talk that Azmin, who is also said to be vying for the position, would leave PKR following the party’s supposed endorsement of Abdul Khalid’s governance.

Azmin dismissed the speculation at yesterday’s press conference where he was flanked by some of the party’s Selangor line-up in what appeared to be a sign of protest against Abdul Khalid’s likely reappointment as the state’s chief executive.

Although the Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman was evasive when bombarded by questions for his view on the candidacy for the post, the PKR deputy president made several insinuations that leaders from the party’s Selangor chapter were against Abdul Khalid’s reappointment.

However, a majority of Selangor PKR lawmakers and division chiefs want Abdul Khalid to be reappointed as the state’s mentri besar, party sources have said, amid protests by a faction led by Azmin.

The Malaysian Insider understands the endorsement was made at a closed-door “gathering” held at Empire Hotel in Subang Jaya on Monday where most of the 14 state assemblymen, 16 division chiefs and a few federal MPs who attended felt that Abdul Khalid should be allowed to lead the PR Selangor government for a second term.

The two other Pakatan Rakyat component parties, the DAP and PAS, have also backed Abdul Khalid for the job despite winning more seats than PKR in Selangor.

The DAP and PAS each won 15 seats in Selangor at the May 5 general election, with PKR netting 14.

11 May 2013

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A caricature mocking our electoral system published in The Global Edition Of The New York Times today.

11 May 2013

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Malaysiakini

In the past week, two Malay newspapers Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo! chose to have as their headlines controversial statements that could be considered incendiary in reference to the Chinese having rejected Barisan Nasional in favour of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat, following the results of the 13th general elections held almost a week ago.

NONEBoth former and current Prime Ministers Dr Mahathir Mohamed and Najib Abdul Razak (right) have said as much, creating the public perception that this election marked out the stark difference in voting patterns between the Malays and Chinese, especially in the latter’s reference to a ‘Chinese Tsunami’.

Malaysians have to caution against this ethnic positioning as an easy blame game, for several reasons.

First, it is more accurate to state that the results saw a split between urban and rural voters, hence a spatial and class, rather than an ethnic, divide.

NONEPakatan strengthened its incumbent position by winning two-third majorities in Selangor and Penang, the two most industrialised and urban states, which together contribute to the almost 60 percent of the country’s GDP.

In Selangor, the only parliamentary seats won by Barisan were in the more rural or semi-urban areas such as Sabak Bernam, Sungai Besar and Tanjong Karang.

In Seremban, DAP candidate Anthony Loke would not have won with more than a 12,000 majority (and a 16,501 swing) had it not been for Malay support, where Malays constitute 44 percent of the seat’s population.

Flawed argument gets nailed

The argument that opposition gains were only due to Chinese swing is also not fully accurate, since Malay-majority seats such as Kuala Terengganu (89 percent Malay, 10 percent Chinese) were wrested by Pakatan with a 10,785 majority (and a 11,413 swing). Both are urban seats.

It is ,therefore, too simplistic to attribute the opposition’s gains to racial polarisation, since one must equally examine class and geographical differences.

Second, the allegations of electoral fraud make it difficult for accurate analysis to take place.

Pakatan has accused the electoral system of being rigged through a number of ways, such as providing identity cards for foreigners to vote, flying them into the peninsula en masse from East Malaysia, and Malaysians having their names either removed from the voter roll or registered without their knowledge, ‘indelible ink’ that was very easily removed, and vote-buying, among other discrepancies.

If the fraud is indeed as widespread as alleged, then this raises serious concerns as to the legitimacy of the election results, which has a direct effect on our reading of voter sentiment.

Out of the 24 parliamentary seats with a majority of less than 1,500, 17 of them were eventually won by Barisan – including Bentong and Kuala Selangor, where initial results saw the Pakatan candidates leading.

In many cases, the number of spoilt votes exceeded the majority, and the majority was less than 4 percent of the total number of votes, the latter of which would have required a recount although this was denied in Kuala Selangor.

Game of statistics stripped

Barisan is now the federal government because it bagged 133 seats out of the 222 in total, giving it a majority of 22 seats.

However, a series of questions must be asked: Could the Barisan win at the federal level be attributed to the wins in these marginal seats, some of which had their results changed after the recounts?

NONEIf so, should the Election Commission not investigate the alleged fraud cases that could have affected the outcomes of the razor-thin wins of such seats, which in turn would have led to a very different result?

Finally, statistics are emerging that demonstrate the effects of malapportionment on the election results. Pakatan’s 89 seats had an average of 63,191 votes cast, compared with Barisan’s 133 seats which had an average of 39,381.

Simply put, Pakatan won in the seats with larger constituencies, while Barisan won in the smaller ones.

This explains the Barisan win, despite Pakatan having won the popular vote with 51.4 percent of the population’s support and Barisan with 48.6 percent.

Moving forward, both political coalitions – together with civil society – will have to reflect deeply upon what actions are needed to address these issues, as well as their mid to long-term implications.

Time to look at naked truth

There is an urgent need for Pakatan to craft messages that better target the low-income, rural and Malay voters, assuring them that their lifelines would not be cut off without Umno around.

Barisan has to take a good look at its coalition model, since its component parties MCA and Gerakan are effectively depleted.

It will also have to examine the reasons for which urban, middle-class voters rejected their offerings so resoundingly.

In order for the alleged electoral fraud to be taken seriously, cases have to be systematically compiled and recorded.

Bersih 2.0 has stated it would organise a People’s Tribunal to this end, while PKR has appointed newly elected Member of Parliament Rafizi Ramli for its compilation purposes.

This will be in addition to the election petitions expected to be filed by Pakatan parties in 20 constituencies or so, in which the winning margin was less than 5 percent.

It is hoped that the lawsuits, which must be filed within 21 days after the results are gazetted, would be an effective recourse sought by Pakatan in seeking justice for what it considers an unfair elections.

Even if these efforts, accompanied by hard evidence, fail to ultimately impact upon the election results, they would still be crucial for the court of public opinion in the coming months, for historical record as well as valuable lessons learnt in order to better prepare for the 14th general election.

Why GE13 should be toasted

Finally, it is clear that without genuine electoral reform, even an election which is the most fundamental form of democracy would not be conducted fairly, nor its citizens’ votes respected.

In a system where parliamentary seats are not fairly weighted nor apportioned, the party with minority support emerges the victor.

This is an unfortunate consequence of the way constituencies are demarcated at present, which can only be amended with a two-third majority support in Parliament.

Before political analysts deduce that this was an election that divided Malaysia racially, one must be cognisant that if not for these irregularities, a very different result would have emerged.

Coming to a conclusion based on the election results at merely face value would not be entirely accurate.

If anything, it must be pointed out that young urban-dwellers voted across ethnic lines for the opposition against a corrupt regime, a trend that will only continue given that urbanisation is expected to exceed 70 percent by 2020.

It is this that should instead be celebrated and not conveniently ignored, in the desperate need to explain the worst election performance in Barisan’s history as entirely due to the racial divide.

In the journey towards a more open, transparent and democratic Malaysia, the 13th general election has raised even more questions on electoral processes, which if not corrected, will have a permanent mark on all future elections.

11 May 2013

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Malaysiakini

Why did rural Sarawakians and Sabahans stay with BN, while their urban counterparts voted overwhelmingly for change?

BN’s strategy of harping on ethnic insecurities made no impact in Borneo, yet BN won 48 of 57 parliamentary seats in Sabah, Labuan and Sarawak.

In Sarawak, even allowing for electoral fraud, it was clear that the “urban tsunami” stopped at the coastal towns of Kuching, Sarikei, Sibu and Miri.

Rural Sarawakians have been denigrated as “squatters” on their own land.

Many have had their native customary rights (NCR) land stolen,their NCR defenders assaulted with machetes, their daughtersraped, their air and rivers polluted, and their lawyers detainedwithout charge.

NONESome political commentators insist that rural Sarawakians and Sabahans are “stupid” – and proclaim their own stupidity, with disarming honesty.

They forget that Malaysians of various ethnic groups, urban and rural alike, handed Abdullah Ahmad Badawi a triumphant success in 2004, with BN winning 90 percent of parliamentary seats and 64 percent of the popular vote.

Indeed, all the seven additional MPs gained by Pakatan in 2013 were delivered by urban Sabahan and Sarawakian voters.

Still, it is impossible to counteract BN’s winning formula in rural seats, if we do not first try to understand it.

One component is undoubtedly poverty, and consequently, constant exposure to our distorted mainstream media. Another factor is an skewed electoral process.

A third is the logistical advantage of BN, using the state civil service facilities for campaigning.

A fourth is the shoddy organisation of Pakatan component parties outside urban areas. And there is a fifth reason: most rural communities live in a pre-industrial era, untouched by the democratic awakening we have have witnessed in urban Malaysia.

sarawak penan community in ba jawi ulu baram 160609 01Sarawak and Sabah are crisscrossed by mountain ranges. Most tiny rural communities live in valleys carved by rivers from the rugged landscape.

They practice subsistence farming, and many households earn a monthly income far below the poverty line, RM830 in Sarawak or RM960 in Sabah.

Travelling to a town by river takes days. Even if villagers can scrape together enough cash for a seat on a commercial four-wheel-drive truck, the gravel roads are forbidding.

MASwings operates a twin-propeller service, once or twice weekly to a handful of villages, but fares are prohibitive for rural families. Mobile telephone or internet coverage is extremely sparse.

Political vision is limited by the terrain, and the historical and geographical isolation of these communities.

Big ideas, whether of democracy, good governance, anti-corruption or anti-racism movements, political Islam or liberation theology, 1Malaysia or the welfare state, Marxism or monetarism, have not drifted through these valleys.

Stunted form of democracy 

Democracy has not died here. Democracy – as understood by urban Malaysians, including free and fair competition for government, universal suffrage, civil liberties, a system of checks and balance, and an independent press – has not truly been born in rural Sarawak.

Some rural Sarawakians, such as the Iban and the Penan, certainly have an adat or custom of electing their leaders, and a tradition of self-determination, collective decision-making, and egalitarianism.

But Sarawakians from other ethnic groups, including Malays, Bidayuh, Chinese and Orang Ulu, practise feudalism to some degree.

NONEBN has systematically undermined any existing adat of self-determination, by appointing leaders, from the village chief to the penghulu and pemanca or temenggong, and by sacking independent-minded village heads.

BN’s patronage has crippled these communities’ independence. BN has forged its dacing brand as “apai indai” (parents) to rural communities.

Many rural communities are angered by the loss of their neighbours’ land to dams or oil palm estates, but remain afraid to vote against the BN.

BN routinely threatens to deprive them of fuel subsidies, schools, medical care, even disability allowances.

Radio Free Sarawak broadcasts, as well as word of mouth from rural Dayaks and Malays working in towns along the coast or in peninsular Malaysia, have alerted many rural communities to the threats to their NCR land.

Even so, many NCR landowners are as yet unaffected by land grabs, and succumb to the “not in my back yard” sentiment.

They hope that their own land will somehow be spared, by some miracle, from BN’s deformed, top-down “development”.

Several communities have turned to PKR lawyers to fight for NCR land in court, but ironically, vote for BN in elections.

Many sell their votes readily for small bribes of cash, food or beer. Others are intimidated by BN’s threats.

In contrast, urban Malaysians’ fear of authority, and of the ethnic “other”, is fading fast, thanks to urban class conflict, the Bersih rallies, Pakatan’s increasing cohesion, and, ironically, premier Najib’s frantic and misguided efforts to use racist invective to save his own skin, ahead of Umno’s general assembly this year.

Low incomes, low education, low turnouts

“I am very convinced now that the abject poverty of our natives’ folks placed them in a very vulnerable situation, allowing money politics to remain supreme in elections. Rights, idealism and even spiritual principles take a back seat,” Sarawak PKR chairperson BaruBian wrote, after Pakatan failed to win a single rural parliamentary seat on polling day.

“In my area, Limbang, for example, voters were paid RM20, RM30, RM100, RM150, and RM300 depending on the strength of support. Other constituencies were paid RM100 as first payment and RM500 can be claimed after winning the (general election).”

Hudud forum Baru BianBaru Bian’s (right) observation of vote-buying is not simply an old excuse. BN banked heavily on rural votes, and their outlay clearly paid off in GE13.

Gerrymanderinghas also been honed by BN over decades.

The second smallest parliamentary constituency in Sarawak, Tanjong Manis, has 19,215 registered voters, a quarter of the 84,732 voters in the largest, Stampin (wrested from BN by the DAP with an enormous 18,670 majority).

The smaller rural populations dilute the effects of urban dissent, and make it easier to manipulate and buy voters.

Tanjong Manis had a low turnout of 75 percent. The BN candidate, Norah Abdul Rahman, is chief minister Taib Mahmud’s cousin.

Her two sisters, and business partners, had played an unwitting starring role in a recent Global Witness video exposé.

Despite her sisters’ shameful insults against rural Sarawakians, Norah won 87 percent of votes cast.

Her victory suggests many of her constituents had never seen the video, thanks to BN’s leash on the mainstream media.

The largest constituency, Hulu Rajang, is comparable in size to Pahang, but has only 21,686 names on the roll, and one of the lowest turnout rates nationwide, 68 percent. Low turnouts favour the incumbent.

Lacking supervison, corpses vote?

Baram was expected to go to PKR’s Roland Engan. An independent spoiler, Patrick Sibat, after failing in his bid to be PKR candidate, took 363 votes away from PKR. BN’s Anyi Ngau squeaked through by a margin of 194. Turnout here, 64 percent, was even lower than Hulu Rajang.

NONEIn these enormous constituencies, polls monitors and counting agents are scarce, while voting irregularities are common: cash distribution for votes, electoral roll discrepancies, double voting, and ballot box stuffing.

Intriguingly, there were 351 voters over 90 years old (or 1.87 percent of all voters) in Baram, and 182 (or 1.23 percent) in Hulu Rajang.

These numbers, in closely contested seats, were far higher than the corresponding rates of 0.56 percent in Sarawak overall, 0.77 percent in Sabah, 0.19 percent in Selangor, and 0.23 percent in Pahang.

Did nonagenarians display remarkable stamina in two of the poorest areas in Sabah and Sarawak, two of the poorest states? Or were phantom voters using ICs of deceased voters?

In between elections, BN has been investing little into the impoverished rural communities – keeping them insecure, poor, uneducated and easy to control – while extracting too much from Sarawak’s rural populace. BN’s rural chokehold is unsustainable.

11 May 2013

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