Malaysia: Malaysians stage rally demanding election commission’s resignation | AFP

About 20,000 Malaysian opposition supporters gathered in the capital on Saturday demanding the resignation of the country’s Election Commission in the wake of contentious polls. The opposition claims bias by the commission cost them a historic win against Malaysia’s 56-year-old ruling coalition and has filed petitions challenging results in some areas, claiming fraud. The rally in central Kuala Lumpur was the 15th since the May 5 elections, in which the Barisan Nasional (National Front) clung to power despite losing the popular vote in its worst showing ever. “We have won the elections,” opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim told the crowd. “So we will continue our protests in parliament and outside.”

Malaysia: Thousands rally in Malaysia for polls reform | Nation

About 20,000 Malaysian opposition supporters gathered in the capital Saturday demanding the resignation of the country’s Election Commission in the wake of contentious polls. The opposition claims bias by the commission cost them a historic win against Malaysia’s 56-year-old ruling coalition and has filed petitions challenging results in some areas, claiming fraud. The rally in central Kuala Lumpur was the 15th since the May 5 elections, in which the Barisan Nasional (National Front) clung to power despite losing the popular vote in its worst showing ever. “We have won the elections,” opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim told the crowd. “So we will continue our protests in parliament and outside.”

Malaysia: Premier Revamps Election Commission After Disputed Poll | Bloomberg

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.

Malaysia: Opposition rallies against election loss | The Guardian

At least 50,000 Malaysian opposition supporters rallied at a stadium Wednesday to protest what they say are fraud-marred election results that enabled the long-ruling coalition to cling to power. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s three-party alliance believes the National Front coalition used illegal voters, bogus ballots and other irregularities in May 5 national polls to extend its 56 years of rule. Prime Minister Najib Razak has rejected the accusations and maintained that the elections were free and fair.

Malaysia: Election Fraud in Malaysia | Huffington Post

Malaysians cast their ballots in the most important election in the nation’s history on Sunday. On Election Day, as had been predicted by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, reports of electoral fraud were widespread. Although the Prime Minister Najib Razak had just a few days earlier given his categorical assurance that the election would be clean, a mountain of evidence started piling up to negate his assertion. It was discovered that despite years of pressuring the Malaysian Election Commission (EC) to ensure a free, fair and unbiased election the EC continued to demonstrate its incompetence and lack of professionalism. Furthermore, evidence has emerged that websites in Malaysia are being selectively and deliberately blocked to prevent the free flow of independent information.

Malaysia: Anwar Ibrahim urges protest over poll defeat | BBC

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has urged supporters to stage a protest after Malaysia’s ruling coalition won polls he said were marred by fraud. His call came as PM Najib Razak was sworn into office after his Barisan Nasional (BN, National Front) coalition won 133 of the 222 parliamentary seats. Mr Anwar’s three-party alliance secured 89 seats on Sunday in the country’s closest polls since independence. The BN has been in power in Malaysia for more than half a century. The polls saw an 80% voter turnout, amid strong campaigning from both sides.

Malaysia: Fraud alleged as Malaysian coalition wins re-election | The Globe and Mail

Malaysia’s long-ruling National Front, headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak, appeared to fend off a fierce challenge and win re-election on Sunday. But the country’s opposition leader said the vote was tainted by widespread irregularities and did not reflect the popular will. He refused to concede. Anwar Ibrahim, whose support base is largely Internet-savvy younger voters, had promised the election would mark a “Malaysian Spring” in the country. Now Malaysians wait to see whether the veteran opposition leader will try and challenge the result in the courts or streets.

Malaysia: Anwar to challenge Election Commission’s announcement: We don’t accept that BN has won | Malaysia Chronicle

Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has challenged the controversial announcement made by the Election Commission that the Umno-BN coalition led by Prime Minister Najib Razak had won the majority of seats needed to form the next federal government. “At this stage, we are not prepared to accept the announcement of the EC that BN has won the majority to form the government,” PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle as he exited from the emergency meeting held by Pakatan Rakyat leaders over news of the ‘win’.

Malaysia: Arson, Intimidation Cases Mount as Polls Draws Near | Businessweek

More than 2,000 cases of arson, fighting and other election-related crimes have been recorded by police since Malaysia’s parliament was dissolved for polls that will determine whether Najib Razak’s government can extend its five-decade grip on power. “The violence is much more than previous elections,” Irene Fernandez, co-chairwoman of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections’ code of conduct committee, said by phone. “The increased tension is being driven by the fear of racial riots” and broader implementation of Islamic law that’s being created by the media among non-Muslims, she said. Campaign booths and motorbikes were burned and flags and billboards torn down as police received reports of 315 incidents yesterday alone, Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf, assistant commissioner of police, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today. In southern Johor state, bordering Singapore, one political supporter was allegedly choked by five men, he said.

Malaysia: Fresh Elections Offer Striking Choice – Malaysia Prepares for a Close Election Fight | Wall Street Journal

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s call for fresh elections presents his fractured, multiethnic country with a stark choice: Stick with a ruling party that has governed the Muslim-majority nation for over half a century, or usher in an era of potentially sweeping change by electing Anwar Ibrahim’s opposition alliance. The date remains to be set by Malaysia’s Election Commission after Mr. Najib dissolved Parliament on Wednesday. But the race already is shaping up to be the most important and closely fought contest since independence from Britain in 1957, and one that could radically alter the future of what is widely regarded as one of the Islamic world’s most dynamic nations. Since taking office four years ago, Mr. Najib, 59 years old, has nudged through reforms aimed at outflanking Mr. Anwar’s supporters and containing a growing clamor for greater accountability and more democracy. After several mass rallies on the streets of Kuala Lumpur in recent years, Mr. Najib scrapped a decades-old law enabling security forces to detain critics without trial, and began chipping away at a sprawling affirmative-action program designed to help the majority ethnic-Malay Muslim population catch up with generally wealthier ethnic Chinese.

Malaysia: Prime Minister dissolves parliament to hold elections | USAToday

Malaysia’s prime minister dissolved Parliament on Wednesday to call for general elections that will be contested between a coalition that has ruled for nearly 57 years and a resurgent opposition whose pledge to form a cleaner government has resonated with millions of citizens. The polls are widely expected within a month after Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a nationally televised address that he had obtained royal consent from Malaysia’s constitutional monarch to dissolve Parliament immediately. Najib used his speech to urge more than 13 million eligible voters in Malaysia to give his National Front coalition a strong mandate and to reject opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s three-party alliance.

Malaysia: Facing Tests, Malaysia’s Leader Calls for Elections | New York Times

The Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, announced he would dissolve Parliament on Wednesday, launching a critical election campaign for his multiethnic coalition, which has been in power since independence from Britain more than five decades ago. After years of what amounted to one-party rule in Malaysia, the country’s opposition parties have been ascendant, challenging a system that is based on ethnicity. Chinese voters, who make up about one quarter of the country’s population of nearly 30 million, have abandoned the ruling coalition in large numbers. And the country’s main Malay ethnic group, which has dominated politics in the country for five decades, is divided.

Malaysia: Analysts say rally fallout could delay Malaysia polls | Channel NewsAsia

Recent police clashes with election-reform protesters in Malaysia have dented premier Najib Razak’s reform credentials and may force him to push back elections, analysts say. Najib was widely expected to set a June date for what is predicted to be a close battle between his ruling coalition and the opposition led by Anwar Ibrahim, but observers say Saturday’s protest may have changed his thinking. Tens of thousands took to the streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur to demand clean elections, defying government curbs on the rally. Angry demonstrators broke through barricades and clashed with police, who fired tear gas and chemical-laced water on crowds and arrested 512 people. All have since been released. Analysts say the events may have tarnished Najib’s efforts to win votes by pledging to loosen the long-ruling coalition’s authoritarianism.

Malaysia: Ban lifted, students now allowed to join politics | Channel NewsAsia

Malaysia will lift a decades-old ban on university students joining political parties. Bills to amend three laws were tabled for the first reading in Parliament on Monday. The move was part of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s social transformation plan announced last year to allow greater civil liberties to the people. Malaysia’s higher education minister, Khalid Nordin, tabled three bills in parliament on Monday to amend three laws, namely the education and colleges acts, private higher education as well as education institutions acts, basically to allow students to join political parties. But they cannot stand for election or take parts in any unlawful or illegal assemblies.

Editorials: Southeast Asia Roundup: The (Electoral T)Ides of March | CEIP

Step aside Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, there are equally (some would argue more) gripping electoral contests occurring on the other side of the world—in Southeast Asia. Myanmar’s by-elections on April 1 were groundbreaking. Timor-Leste’s ongoing presidential elections seem to have already thrust the country in a new direction. And in Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak may not have called for a vote, but election fever is in the air.

Malaysia: Lawmakers Recommend Changes to Malaysian Electoral System |

A parliamentary committee recommended a series of changes to the Malaysian electoral system on Tuesday, but opposition groups and activists said they did not go far enough to ensure a level playing field for elections widely expected later this year. The committee, which consisted of five members of the governing coalition, three opposition members and one independent, was set up last year by Prime Minister Najib Razak following a rally that brought tens of thousands of people into the streets calling for greater transparency and fairness in elections. Its report contained 22 proposals, including steps to ensure that the electoral rolls list only legitimate voters, that political candidates have equal access to the news media and that the Election Commission function independently of partisan politics. The lower house adopted the report later in the day.

Malaysia: Malaysia urged to roll out reforms before polls | Channel NewsAsia

Malaysia’s electoral reform group Bersih wants Prime Minister Najib Razak to hold off polls until all proposed reforms have been implemented. The coalition of 62 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also vows to return to the streets, if the election commission fails to clean up the electoral roll. This comes after a government report showed thousands of cases of multiple voters being registered under the same addresses. Amid swirling rumours of a general election in June this year, Prime Minister Najib faces renewed pressure to deliver on his promise for electoral reform. This, especially after a state-run agency’s report revealed more than 11,000 cases where multiple voters were registered under the same address nationwide. Of these, 820 cases had more than 100 voters registered under a single address.

Malaysia: Knives out for Malaysia’s Najib | Asia Times

Just over a month after a large rally in Kuala Lumpur to demand clean and fair elections rattled Malaysia’s ruling elite, Prime Minister Najib Razak has announced that a bipartisan parliamentary select committee will be set up to review the electoral system. The move comes as Najib’s government faces rising pressures on several political fronts, including a speculated challenge to his leadership from inside his own party.

Najib’s announcement has been interpreted as an attempt to placate disquiet about the integrity of the electoral process before the next general election, which must be held before mid-2013, and to prevent any repeat protest rally to press home the demands. The political opposition has claimed elections are structurally set up to favor the long-ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.