Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced measures to overhaul the election commission after the ruling coalition retained power in a vote that was marred by fraud allegations. An independent bipartisan parliamentary committee of government and opposition members will oversee the commission to “strengthen public confidence” in it, Najib said today in a statement in the administrative capital of Putrajaya, near Kuala Lumpur. Najib’s Barisan Nasional alliance won 133 seats in the 222-member Parliament in the May 5 election to extend its 55-year rule over the Southeast Asian nation. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has disputed the outcome and said May 6 that his Pakatan Rakyat group would challenge some of the results because of fraud claims.
Monitoring groups such as the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, known as Bersih, raised several “major issues,” including the use of phantom voters, stained ballot papers and indelible ink that could be washed off, according to their preliminary report.
“It is so easy to take the path of blame and denial, but this will not solve any of our problems or unlock the challenges facing Malaysia,” Najib said. “I am announcing these improvements to our electoral system in the spirit of unity and national reconciliation.