Malaysia: 120,000 protest fraudulent election (+ photos)

Most wore black to mourn the BN's killing of democracy. Photo by Lee Yu Kyung.

By Peter Boyle, photos by Lee Yu Kyung

May 8, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Up to 120,000 people packed and overflowed a large stadium in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur on May 8 to protest the fraudulent re-election of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government on May 5. The crowd defied a police threat to arrest all who attended the opposition-called rally. The police did not dare confront the huge crowd but since the rally have called in 28 rally speakers for questioning.

The crowd also had to brave BN threats to provoke ethnic clashes by branding the stronger opposition vote a "Chinese tsunami" – a slander against the multi-ethnic opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

The opposition plans to hold more rallies in other cities in the following days.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia) international officer Choo Chon Kai told Green Left Weekly that people were very angry with the election result in which the BN "won" 133 parliamentary seats with just 47.4% of the popular vote while the opposition got only 89 seats with 50.9%.

The opposition is disputing the results in at least 30 seats, Choo added.

The PSM has called for a united position to fight the official result of the general election.

"The many irregularities during election – the tainted electoral roll, the [not-so] indelible ink scandal, vote buying and 'phantom' voters – calls for not only an investigation but a referundum against the Electoral Commission and a challenge the result itself," the PSM said in a post-election statement.

"The result of the election gives PR a popular majority over BN. We are being ruled by a government which does not have the support of more than half the voters."

PSM called the BERSIH movement for free and fair elections to lead the way in ensuring that the rakyat's [people's] democratic rights to representation from a rightful government is not "denied nor hijacked".

"BERSIH has the moral high ground and discipline to move the democratic struggle to the next stage."

The PSM also called upon the PR leadership "to give clear direction on what is to being done".

"Currently only Anwar Ibrahim seems to be addressing the issue of electoral fraud and we do not seem to get consistent response form other PR leaders especially Hadi Awang of the Islamic Party (PAS) who seems to have accepted the result. This lack of clarity is confusing the people at large."

Despite, sabotage from other opposition parties which forced three of the four PSM candidates to struggle in three-cornered contests in a first-part-the-post election, the PSM retained the Sungai Siput seat of its sole federal MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj. PSM chairperson Nasir Hashim lost his Kota Damansara state assembly seat because a rogue PAS candidate split the opposition vote. PSM secretary general S. Arutchelvan failed to win the state assembly seat of Semenyih also because he was forced by Anwar Ibrahim's Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat - PKR) into a three-cornered contest.

"The combined votes of the opposition would have ensured a victory for PR. A straight fight would have ensured a victory for PSM or PKR. We regret that PKR interference in this seat which they have never contested before resulted in this three-corner in Semenyih," Arutchelvan said.

"Even though PKR came second, I am not able to condone nor consent to the bullying tactics employed by PKR Selangor leadership in denying PSM the seat purely on racial reasons. PKR leadership must learn to respect its allies."

Opposition MP Nurul Izzah Anwar (the daughter of Anwar Ibrahim) addressing the rally. Photo by Lee Yu Kyung.

Most wore black to mourn the BN's killing of democracy. Photo by Lee Yu Kyung.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Photo by Lee Yu Kyung.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim addressing the rally. Photo by Lee Yu Kyung.

Photo by Lee Yu Kyung.

From GLW issue 964