Malaysia: Government looking into internet voting, Law Minister says | The Straits Times

The Malaysian government is engaging various stakeholders to look into the feasibility of introducing e-voting for the next general election, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Takiyuddin Hassan. Datuk Takiyuddin, who is the de-facto Law Minister, said electronic voting would involve several issues pertaining to data confidentiality, security, cost and voter education. He said the Election Commission (EC) is still not satisfied with the confidentiality and security issues involving e-voting. “Therefore, the EC will continue to engage with the relevant quarters before any decision is put forward to the government,” he said during question time in Parliament on Thursday (July 16). The issue of e-voting has been raised amid talk that the four-month old Perikatan Nasional (PN) government might call for snap elections amid the coronavirus pandemic. The 15th general election isn’t due until 2023 but might be called soon due to the thin parliamentary majority held by PN.

Malaysia: Proposal to lower voting age, automatic voter registration agreed to in principal by political parties | New Straits Times

The proposal to lower voting age from 21 years to 18 and automatic voter registration were principally agreed by political parties from both divides today. The Election Commission (EC) chairman, Azhar Azizan Harun said 32 parties out 52 registered political parties in the country, had unanimously agreed to both proposals. The EC had earlier called the 32 political parties today for a closed-door meeting to discuss issues pertaining to voter registration. “There was no objection to the voting age limit from the political parties. “However there were several suggestions for the need for more data such as address and telephone numbers for the automatic registration,” he told reporters after the meeting at the EC headquarters here today.

Malaysia: Jammer device allegedly used to sabotage PKR e-voting | The Star

A police report has been lodged by a Kuala Selangor PKR candidate after a jammer device was found allegedly used to sabotage the party polls. According to the report sighted by The Star, Kuala Selangor PKR Youth chief candidate R Sabahbathi said the device was found by district council workers at about 2pm on Sunday while they were cleaning up the Kuala Selangor Indoor Stadium where the election was supposed to take place. He said the device was allegedly placed on the floor at the spectators’ seats since 10.30am when polling just started. It had a metal casing with six antennas, and labels that read “4G” and “WiFi”. “All the Internet data cannot be used forcing eligible voters not to be able to cast their votes,” he said in the report, which was lodged at the Kuala Selangor police headquarters.

Malaysia: Dump e-voting for manual system, urges Pahang PKR chief | New Straits Times

A manual voting system would be better for the PKR elections this time around, as the e-voting system which had been used in the abortive polling in Penang and Kedah appeared to have many weaknesses. State PKR chairman Datuk Fauzi Abdul Rahman said this was his personal opinion on the matter, adding that the e-voting system was perhaps better used for the future. He said it was brave of PKR to introduce the e-voting system, but it now appeared to not be so appropriate due to several obstacles, such as the slow Internet speeds in some areas.

Malaysia: E-voting glitch causes fight, postponement in 8 Kedah PKR divisions | The Star

PKR’s electronic voting system is not going well in Kedah as the names of candidates and voters went missing in the voting app after the system hung, leading to a fight and the postponement of voting in eight divisions. It is learned that a voter in Merbok lost his cool after discovering that the names of certain candidates had gone missing from the e-ballots and alleged that this was an attempt at sabotage. A video of him wielding a stick and hitting someone has also gone viral on social media. The police reportedly arrested two men in connection with the fight. Kedah PKR chairman Dr Azman Ismail, who is Kuala Kedah MP, said voting in seven divisions had to be postponed because the voting stations could not connect to the Internet.

Malaysia: Cabinet decides to lower voting age from 21 to 18 | The Straits Times

The Malaysian Cabinet has decided to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. The decision was made at its weekly meeting on Wednesday (Sept 19), and work on amending the Federal Constitution will begin soon, said Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman. “One of the things to be done is to work closely with the youth wings of opposition parties as a two-thirds majority is needed for laws to be amended,” he told reporters. “By the next general election, 18-year-olds can cast their votes, that is for certain,” he added.

Malaysia: Lowering the voting age to 18 | The Star

In a recent media interview, Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad expressed support for the proposal to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. The right to vote is therefore a sacred and precious right in any democratic country. In Malaysia, the right to vote is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. According to Article 119(1) of the Federal Constitution, a citizen who has reached 21 years old, resident in a particular election constituency and has been registered as a voter, is eligible and has the right to vote in any elections to the Dewan Rakyat or the State Legislative Assembly. According to reports, the Prime Minister stated that it is worthwhile to consider the proposal as the Government believes that people are now wiser and can make informed decisions.

Malaysia: Anger Broke the Fix in Malaysia’s Elections | Foreign Policy

At a rally on the southern outskirts of Kuala Lumpur Wednesday night, 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad declared victory in Malaysia’s elections, a result confirmed the next morning. Mahathir’s victory brought an end to the six-decade dominance of the Barisan Nasional (BN), a coalition of parties led by the United Malays National Organization — a group that Mahathir himself once headed. Mahathir was celebrating in the capital, but his victory was forged in the countryside, where the United Malays National Organization has long had a powerful grip on rural voters, especially ethnic Malays, maintained through a decades-long web of favors, benefits, subsidies, and political appointments. But trust in that system has frayed thanks both to mismanagement at the top and incompetence at the bottom, leaving Malaysia’s rural poor turning away from the party they’d helped keep in power for decades.

Malaysia: Election Commission urges patience, denies any ‘tricks’ in counting process | The Star

t there are no “tricks up their sleeves” in the vote counting process. “The rakyat are waiting and we understand, give us some time to give an official result when everything is confirmed,” its chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah (pic) said at a press conference chaired by top EC officials on Thursday. He added that news about unofficial results were from party agents on duty at polling centres and were unverified. “It is the EC’s responsibility to only issue verified results,” he said.

Malaysia: Opposition, Led by 92-Year-Old, Wins Upset Victory | The New York Times

In a historic election upset in a country that has been governed by just one coalition for decades, a Malaysian opposition bloc led by the 92-year-old former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad swept to a majority in national parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is accused of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars in government funds, gave an emotional national address on Thursday, saying that he would “accept the verdict of the people.” But the election’s result has not yet been settled. The country’s king must now rule on who will be the next prime minister, as the loose coalition of opposition parties led by Mr. Mahathir is not officially recognized as a single political entity.

Malaysia: Politicians claim phones hacked; probe shows spam calls from unknown bot attack | The Straits Times

Malaysian politicians on Wednesday (May 9) say their mobile phones have been hacked and are being spammed by calls allegedly originating from the United States. “BN leaders’ handphones have been under technical attack since morning,” said Barisan Nasional (BN) Strategic Communications director Datuk Seri Rahman Dahlan. “Calls from overseas keep coming in every few seconds! To…

Malaysia: Malaysia’s election is a strange brew of ‘fake news,’ Cambridge Analytica and a 92-year-old autocrat-turned-reformer | Los Angeles Times

With police investigating him under Malaysia’s new anti-“fake news” law, Mahathir Mohamad, the nearly 93-year-old former prime minister turned opposition frontman, says his country faces its dirtiest election on Wednesday. The governing coalition “will cheat like mad, they will steal votes, but still I think we can win,” Mahathir said in an interview with The Times, stepping off a makeshift stage and into a nearby BMW waiting to take him to yet another campaign rally. Defying his age, Mahathir had just wrapped up a half-hour stump speech in this farming area about a 20-mile drive from Aloh Setar, the capital of Kedah state, his home base. Kedah has typically been a government stronghold, although the green flags of Malaysia’s Islamist party also flutter along its roadsides. Mahathir wants to swing the state, and enough rural Muslim Malays across the country, to his four-party opposition grouping known as the Alliance of Hope.

Malaysia: This Country’s Election Shows The Complicated Role Twitter Plays In Democracy | HuffPost

When the date of the general election was revealed, the outcry was swift. Tradition in Malaysia is for elections to be held over the weekend, giving the many people who have migrated to the big cities time to return to their towns and villages to vote. But on the morning of April 10, Malaysia’s Election Commission announced voting would take place on May 9 ― a weekday. The last time it was scheduled midweek was the country’s first election in 1959. For a population that has grown frustrated by high-level corruption scandals, the rising cost of living, and what many see as a lack of accountability from the world’s longest-ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, the announcement was a tipping point.

Malaysia: Why every vote is not equal in Malaysia polls | Associated Press

Malaysia’s opposition parties have never come close to winning a majority of seats in a national election, even in 2013 when their total vote exceeded the ruling coalition. That year, the ruling National Front won 47 percent of votes but 60 percent of the seats in Parliament. The party has advantages in this election too. Opposition parties and activists have long complained they’re unable to compete on equal terms. Here are some reasons why: Not every vote is equal. Multi-ethnic urban seats, which lean toward the opposition, generally have much higher numbers of voters than those dominated by rural majority Malays, who traditionally support the National Front. That means it takes fewer votes to elect a government lawmaker than it does to elect an opposition lawmaker. Tindak, a group lobbying for reform of the electoral system, says one third of voters decide half of the seats. These distortions are particularly evident in the thinly populated states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo, which together elect a quarter of seats in Parliament.

Malaysia: Watchdogs believe flaws in voter list ‘tip of iceberg’ | Reuters

Electoral watchdog groups in Malaysia said the voter list for next week’s general election had major flaws, including the existence of a 121-year-old voter, raising the spectre of possible fraud. About 15 million Malaysians are registered to vote in next Wednesday’s (May 9) election pitting Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Barisan Nasional coalition, which has ruled for six decades, against a resurgent opposition led by former leader Mahathir Mohamad. A joint study of the voters’ rolls by electoral reform groups Bersih and Engage found more than 500,000 cases of voters registered with the same address, while more than two million were found to have no address. The groups highlighted 10 major irregularities they said affected hundreds of thousands of voters nationwide.

Malaysia: Election Will Test the Country’s Stability | The Diplomat

Malaysians will go to the polls on May 9 in the country’s 14th general election. This is the most hotly contested election in Malaysia’s history, pitting the scandal ridden incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak against a coalition led by former political enemies: former prime minister Mahathir Mohammed, who is 92 years old, and his former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, whom Mahathir had imprisoned. Anwar is once again in prison, on more trumped up charges, and is unable to contest the election, instead endorsing his former boss, who quit the ruling UMNO party that he led for 22 years in what he claims to be disgust over Najib’s corruption. Mahathir has since apologized for sacking Anwar, but make no mistake: this election is about strange bedfellows.

Malaysia: Election campaign kicks off amid claims of sabotage, bias | Reuters

Campaigning for Malaysia’s May 9 general election began on Saturday, pitting Prime Minister Najib Razak against his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad in a contest marred by claims of sabotage and a skewed electoral system. Najib leads his undefeated ruling coalition into arguably its toughest election since independence from Britain in 1957. He is grappling with a multi-billion-dollar scandal at a state fund, public anger over living costs and an unprecedented challenge by the 92-year-old Mahathir. Mahathir, returning to politics after retiring 15 years ago, will stand in the holiday island of Langkawi. Prime minister for 22 years before stepping down in 2003, Mahathir returned to challenge Najib after a billion-dollar scandal at state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Malaysia: From dead voters to blackouts: Malaysia braces for ‘filthy’ poll | AFP

“Phantom” voters, electoral roll tampering, mysterious power blackouts during recounts — Malaysian activists are gearing up to battle widespread cheating at what they fear will be the dirtiest election in the country’s history. Prime Minister Najib Razak is facing a tough test at the May 9 poll due to a corruption scandal surrounding state fund 1MDB, discontent over rising living costs, and a challenge from veteran ex-leader Mahathir Mohamad. While vote-rigging has plagued previous Malaysian elections, observers fear the high stakes mean that cheating by the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition will be more rampant than ever before.

Malaysia: Politicians take election battle to cyberspace | Nikkei Asian Review

With only two weeks left before elections, Malaysia’s political parties are ratcheting up their battle on social media, even before the start of official campaigning on Saturday. At stake are young and newly registered voters, as well as a substantial number of people still undecided. Voters under 40 years old account for 41% of the 15 million eligible voters. The country’s high smartphone penetration rate of 76% lets politicians target groups with help from analytics services provided by social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Official data shows that 97% of social media users are on Facebook, making Malaysia one of the most socially engaged countries in the world. “It is now time to attack,” said Prime Minister Najib Razak in a blog last April, referring to pro-ruling party social media activities. 

Malaysia: Election Commission’s new rules disqualify use of Mahathir’s face in campaign materials | Channel NewsAsia

Malaysia’s Election Commission on Tuesday (Apr 24) issued new guidelines relating to campaign materials for the 14th general election. Only images of party presidents and deputy presidents – or their equivalents – can be used on campaigning material. This effectively rules out pictures of Pakatan Harapan chairman Mahathir Mohamad on most posters and banners in campaigning for the May 9 polls – a move the opposition decried as a deliberate decision targeted at the 92-year-old former prime minister.

Malaysia: May 9 Election Day Declared a Holiday After Outcry | Associated Press

The Malaysian prime minister on Wednesday declared voting day on May 9 a public holiday after a decision to hold elections on a workday triggered complaints that it would deter mainly opposition supporters. The surprise move is seen as a bid to ease public anger a day after the Election Commission announced that voting will be held on a Wednesday, departing from the norm of having it on a weekend. The weekday vote triggered a flurry of complains that it would deter thousands of Malaysians from returning to their hometown to vote. Some companies responded by giving their employees days off and offering to pay for their travel back home to vote. The hashtag “PulangMengundi” (Go home to vote) trended on Twitter, with many Malaysians offering financial assistance and car pool to those travelling back to vote.

Malaysia: General elections to be held on May 9 | Al Jazeera

Malaysia is set to hold a general election on May 9, the Elections Commission said, in what could be the toughest test of the ruling coalition’s 61-year grip on power. Embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak is under pressure to deliver an emphatic win for the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, as he struggles to appease Malaysians unhappy with rising costs and a multi-billion dollar scandal at a state fund he founded. The 64-year-old is expected to retain power due to the BN’s firm grip on Malaysia’s weakened institutions, and what critics claim are efforts by the government to rig the election through gerrymandering and other forms of cheating.

Malaysia: New boundaries, voter apathy and the slow erosion of democracy in Malaysia | TODAYonline

The recent redrawing of Malaysia’s electoral boundaries, which came into effect on March 29, has caused quite a stir as election fever grips the country. The motion was passed despite strong protests from opposition MPs, as well as civil society groups, who accused the Election Commission of colluding with the government to tip the balance in favour of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. Many have condemned it as an exercise in malapportionment and gerrymandering which will widen existing ethnic divides, adding to a growing anxiety among urban Malaysians that Malaysia is arcing towards authoritarianism despite the budding support for the oppositions at both regional and national levels. For some others, however, the move was not at all surprising, given the long history of accusations of electoral manipulation being employed during elections in Malaysia.

Malaysia: Prime Minister Najib dissolves parliament paving way for tough election | Reuters

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak announced the dissolution of parliament on Friday, paving the way for a tough election where the embattled leader will face off against his old mentor and the country’s most seasoned campaigner Mahathir Mohamad. Najib, 64, burdened by a multi-billion dollar scandal linked to a state fund, is under pressure to deliver an emphatic win for his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition as he struggles to appease Malaysians unhappy with rising costs and blunt the challenge from the charismatic 92-year-old Mahathir.

Malaysia: Parliament Approves Law Banning Fake News Ahead of Elections | Associated Press

Malaysia’s parliament on Monday passed a law prohibiting fake news that critics fear will be abused to silence dissent ahead of a general election. Despite warnings such a law would lead Malaysia closer to dictatorship, the bill was approved 123 to 64 after a heated debate. The bill originally proposed a 10-year jail term and a fine of up to 500,000 ringgit ($128,000) for offenders, but the approved legislation sets the maximum prison sentence at six years.

Malaysia: Parliament approves redrawn electoral maps despite protests | Associated Press

Malaysia’s Parliament on Wednesday approved redrawn electoral boundaries despite protests that the ruling coalition was cheating to ensure victory in the upcoming general election. Embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak introduced the new electoral maps, which were approved with 129 lawmakers voting for them and 80 against. Scores of activists earlier protested outside Parliament, denouncing the new maps as gerrymandering that would widen inequality among constituencies and was based along racial lines to favor Najib’s ruling coalition. Activists say the changes mean that ruling party candidates will need fewer votes than opposition lawmakers to win elections. Activists and opposition leaders marched from a nearby park but were blocked from entering Parliament by riot police.

Malaysia: Opposition objects to EC’s new vote boundaries | Malay Mail

Malaysia’s Opposition and an election watchdog submitted objections today to the redrawing of some constituency boundaries, which they said would favour Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a general election due by August. The Election Commission is reviewing electoral boundaries for more than half of Malaysia’s 222 parliamentary seats. Opponents of the redrafting say it is unconstitutional and could skew voting in favour of Najib’s ruling coalition, the Barisan Nasional (BN). The government denies the accusation.

Malaysia: New electoral maps set to favour ruling coalition | The Straits Times

Malaysia’s electoral authorities are rushing through new maps that critics say will further tilt the bias in favour of the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) at a general election expected within the next few months. Despite 16 months of protests and a record number of objections and court cases to declare the Election Commission’s (EC) proposals illegal, Prime Minister Najib Razak is expected to table new maps in Parliament next month, the last session scheduled before polls must be held. The EC’s redelineation exercise came under fire when a first proposal was unveiled in September 2016 for worsening malapportionment – the difference in the number of voters between wards – and shifting voters to ensure more victories for BN, which surveys say is at its most unpopular since Datuk Seri Najib took over nine years ago.

Malaysia: Transgender voters face dreaded path to the ballot box | Malaysiakini

A group of Malaysians are hesitant about going to the polls this year – because it is too dangerous for them. “To be honest, even I myself previously didn’t want to vote,” said Nisha Ayub, a prominent transgender rights activist, when asked about her voting experience in the general elections. “That is not because I don’t know my rights, it’s that I just don’t want to go through the process. You have to queue and to give your IC (identity card). All things about the IC are a problem to us,” she explained.

Malaysia: Millennials aim to spoil Malaysia’s polls | Asia Times

In an election featuring many age-old familiar faces, an increasingly engaged but alienated younger generation of Malaysian voters is committing to #UndiRosak, a social media sparked campaign that advocates spoiling ballots rather than voting for the candidates on offer. The youth vote is a key swing constituency, and both sides of Malaysia’s political divide are vying to win its hearts and minds ahead of what is expected to be a tight electoral race later this year. With many young voters plan to spoil rather than cast their ballots, the no-vote campaign could swing the result in unexpected ways.