Archive for category Elections

Najib, Mahathir and the timing of Malaysia’s polls

Ooi Kee Beng
The Straits Times
16.9.2016

According to its Constitution, Malaysia has to hold its next general election by Aug 24, 2018. That is still almost two years away. And yet, rumours of early elections persist, both at the state and federal levels.

This needs some explaining, given how Prime Minister Najib Razak waited until almost the last minute to go to the polls back in 2013.

The exercise to delineate constituency boundaries now being concluded heightens speculation that early polls are coming. Having lost its two-third majority since 2008, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) has not been able to increase the number of parliamentary constituencies; it is now able only to realign the existing ones – or rename them. And that, it is doing.

That in itself is a substantive exercise of power, especially with the independence of the Election Commission that is in charge of the delineation being in serious doubt. Read the rest of this entry »

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Barisan Nasional Supreme Council has degenerated from Federal coalition government’s highest decision-making body into a superfluous and even super-annuated creature without any bite, role, authority or purpose whatsoever

Nobody is impressed with the Barisan Nasional Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s announcement that the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council will meet on Friday to discuss the Election Commission’s (EC) proposed redelineation exercise.

This is because the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council has degenerated from the Barisan Nasional Federal coalition government’s highest decision-making body into a superfluous and even superannuated creature without any bite, role, authority or purpose whatsoever.

It has followed the footsteps of the Cabinet to become an utterly toothless, purposeless and irrelevant body.

Despite protestations and denials by the EC Chairman, Datuk Mohd Hashim Abdullah that the constituency redelineation exercise was being carried out for the benefit of certain parties, nobody believes that the Election Commission would dare to propose the most unconstitutional, blatant and flagrant constituency redelineation proposals – the most undemocratic of all five redelineation exercises in the nation’s history – without “greenlight” from the highest “political strategists” in the corridors of power in Putrajaya (which do not include anyone from outside UMNO)!

Mohd Hashim’s protestation and denials lack credibility or conviction, for the EC Chairman is unable to explain why he had jettisoned his predecessor, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof’s previous redelineation plan to abide by the Constitution and the democratic principle of “one man, one vote” by ensuring that there will be no super-size parliamentary constituencies exceeding 100,000 votes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Election Commission Chairman Mohd Hashim should explain why he had jettisoned his predecessor’s redelineation plan to abide by the Constitution and the democratic principle of “one man, one vote” by ensuring that there will be no super-size parliamentary constituencies exceeding 100,000 voters?

The DAP MP for Serdang, Dr. Ong Kian Ming’s repartee to the denial by the Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Mohd Hashim Abdullah that the constituency redelineation exercise is being carried out for the benefit of certain parties is a gem: “Yeah right, and I’m sure that Jho Low had nothing to do with 1MDB either…”

Can Mohd Hashim explain why he had jettisoned his precedessor, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof’s redelineation plan to abide by the Constitution and the democratic principle of “one man, one vote” by ensuring that there will be no super-size parliamentary constituencies exceeding 100,000 votes?

Abdul Aziz had gone on public record to say that in the new constituency redelineation to be proposed by the Election Commission, “a constituency with a large number of votes, more than 100,000, has to be divided into two, so that the constituents could obtain good service from the elected representatives”.

Why did Mohd Hashim abandon this important Constitutional and democratic principle in the final proposal of the Election Commission for the redelineation of electoral constituencies?

Is this at the behest of the powers-that-be in UMNO? Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakatan Harapan will have to consider the option of snap polls in Selangor as the Election Commission’s constituency redelineation proposals have mangled and butchered the map of Selangor with the sole purpose of returning UMNO to power in the state

Pakatan Harapan will have to consider the option of snap polls in Selangor as the Election Commission’s constituency redelineation proposals have mangled and butchered the map of Selangor with the sole purpose of returning UMNO to power in the state.

The Barisan Nasional only won 12 UMNO state assembly seats in the 2013 General Elections, but it is hoping to recapture the Selangor State Government which it had failed in two general elections in 2008 and 2013 through the most unashamed, blatant and flagrant violation of the democratic principle of “one man, one vote” in the redelineation of the constituencies, both for Parliament and State Assembly, in the Selangor state.

The Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Razali Ismail, has denied that the
redelineation exercise is lop-sided and in favour of UMNO and Barisan Nasional, claiming that the allegation is aimed at tarnishing UMNO’s image. He needs to only look at the redelineation proposals in Selangor.
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Why the BN Government Will Lose in the Next GE

Koon Yew Yin
18.9.2016

The latest hot news in town is whether Najib and BN are going for early elections, Various UMNO ministers have been calling on their constituency members to be prepared with some UMNO leaders claiming that this is the best time to take advantage of the wins in the two recent by elections in Perak and Selangor and the state elections in Sarawak.

On the other hand, PM Najib has not dropped any hints. But the Deputy PM has discounted early elections. According to Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the claim that the general election could be held as early as next March was based on speculation. He also stated the conclusion was reached using the predictions of unnamed Umno leaders polled by the media outlet. “That is a prediction based on structured sampling which they did. But the reality is that we must keep our feet firmly planted on the ground and while the leaders in the government, BN and Umno don’t deny that the survey was done academically, but the reality is different”.

Whatever the truth is on this matter, I hope it is true that an early election will come about. In my previous posting, I had noted that we have had a lifetime of UMNO/Aliance and UMNO/BN rule in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Election Commission’s constituency redelineation proposal the worst gerrymandering in all five redelineation exercises in nation’s history

The Election Commission’s constituency redelineation proposal is the worst gerrymandering in all five redelineation exercises in the nation’s history.

Under the proposed redelineation, the parliamentary quota in the Peninsular states – which is the average number of electors per parliamentary constituency in the peninsular states, derived from dividing the total electorate by the total number of parliamentary constituencies in all the peninsular states – is 68,814.

The parliamentary quota for each state in Peninsular Malaysia are as follows:

2016 Redelineation:-

State Registered Voters Parliamentary Constituencies Parliamentary Quota
Selangor 2,078,311 22 94,469
Johore 1,649,131 26 63,428
Perak 1,407,529 24 58,647
Kedah 1,044,444 15 69,626
FT (KL) 788,413 11 71,674
Penang 867,748 13 66,750
Kelantan 940,591 14 67,185
Pahang 740,023 14 52,859
Negri Sembilan 557,137 8 69,642
Terengganu 669,546 8 83,693
Malacca 456,645 6 76,107
Perlis 137,098 3 45,600
FT (Putrajaya) 17,627 1
Peninsular Malaysia 165 68,814

The Election Commission owes the Malaysian electorate a full explanation why the present exercise is even more unfair and undemocratic in disregarding the “one man, one vote, one value” principle than the previous four constituency redelineations.
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Election Commission’s proposed redelineation of constituencies is not only undemocratic but runs afoul of the 1Malaysia Policy to build a nation of Malaysians

In my 53rd Malaysia Day message, I asked whether the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Policy is dead or alive.

This was because the Election Commission’s constituency redelineation proposals, made public on the eve of the 53rd Malaysia Day, was not only undemocratic in violating the “one man, one vote, one value” principle, but clearly against the 1Malaysia policy to create a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first and race, religion or region second.

Let the Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah explain whether the constituency redelineation proposals had been inspired by the 1Malaysia policy to promote a nation where every Malaysian regards himself or herself as Malaysia first or will in effect exacerbate racial polarisation and consciousness, and undermine national unity, in the country.

Furthermore, let him answer critiques that the new redelineation proposals are in fact more undemocratic than previous redelineations in violating the democratic principle of “one man, one vote, one value”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Onus is on Election Commission to prove that it is not gerrymandering the current constituency redelineation exercise as in the past to keep UMNO in power

The onus is on the Election Commission to prove that it is not gerrymandering the current constituency redelineation exercise as in the past to keep UMNO in power.

There are two reasons why the Election Commission shoulders such an onus.

Firstly, the public admission or confession at the end of 2013 by the former longest-serving Secretary and later Chairman of the Election Commission, Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, who managed six of the 13 general elections and responsible for three of the four electoral constituency redelineations in Malaysia that he had gerrymandered the redelineations to ensure that the Malays remain in power.

Secondly, preliminary study of the current redelineation exercise indicate that it is driven by the overall agenda to keep UMNO in power and to eliminate Opposition leaders in vulnerable seats from Parliament, like Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in Pagoh and Nurul Izzah Anwar in Lembah Pantai than to comply with the democratic and constitutional principle of “one man, one vote, one value” and to establish that the Election Commission is transparent, independent and professional not beholden to the dictates of the government of the day. Read the rest of this entry »

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Murmurs of Early Malaysia Election After Najib Weathers Storms

Shamim Adam
Bloomberg
September 9, 2016

There’s the whisper of an early election in the air in Malaysia.

Prime Minister Najib Razak and senior officials of his ruling United Malays National Organisation have used dozens of annual party events across the country in recent weeks to exhort members — the bulk of whom are ethnic Malays — to get out and meet potential voters, especially younger ones.

Amid repeated references to the next general election, it’s raising speculation Malaysians will head to the polls before the due date of the middle of 2018. Some senior UMNO officials say it could be as soon as March.

Najib, 63, has weathered more than a year of turmoil amid political attacks over a funding scandal that left foreign investors wondering at times if he would survive in the job. Getting an election win under his belt could dispel doubts about his ability to lead, while providing him with a new mandate to implement economic reforms for a long-touted goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020.

“March has been talked about,” said an UMNO division leader from a southern state, who asked not to be identified, citing the confidential nature of the information. “And why not? The opposition is not together. We are ready as we can be for elections.” Read the rest of this entry »

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One-to-one electoral contest is one of the two elements for an united Opposition to replace UMNO/BN in 14 GE – the other more important is a minimum common electoral programme

Everyone agrees with National Human Rights Society (HAKAM) Chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan who said at the 69th birthday celebration for jailed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim outside Sungai Buloh prison on Wednesday night that the best birthday present for Anwar would be a united opposition against UMNO/BN to face the 14th General Election.

A one-to-one electoral contest is one of the two elements for an united Opposition to replace UMNO/BN in 14GE – the other more important is a minimum common electoral programme.

Can we for instance replicate or improve on the Opposition’s performance of the 13th General Election on May 5, 2013 when the Opposition, then in the form and name of Pakatan Rakyat, won three state governments, polled 53% of the popular vote, and elected 89 Members of Parliament and 229 State Assembly men and women, excluding Sarawak?

As things stand today, assuming that the current political climate holds without any major changes, it would be naïve to assume that voters would simply revert back to their GE2013 voting habits if one-to-one fights can be guaranteed in the next general election.

Lets consider Selangor, using the results of the recent Sungai Besar by-election as a benchmark.
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Malaysians must be able to hope again that change of Federal Government which was within a whisker of achievement in the 13GE was possible and realizable in 14GE, even if held in July/August next year

In the 13th General Election in 2013 three years ago, Malaysians regardless of race and religion were never so united in wanting to bring about a change of Federal Government, which would be regarded as unthinkable and impossible just five years earlier before the “political tsunami” of the 12th General Election in 2008.

Although the majority of voters voted for change of Federal Government, the undemocratic and unfair electoral system allowed Datuk Seri Najib Razak to become the first minority Prime Minister in the country because he won some 60 per cent of the parliamentary seats with only some 47% of the popular vote.

Many Malaysians have become disappointed, disenchanted and given up hope that there is a possibility of democratic change in Malaysia, and have voted with their feet with a surge of migration in the past three years.

The greatest challenge in Malaysia today is to ensure that Malaysians can hope again that change of Federal Government, which was within a whisker of achievement in the 13GE, is still possible and realizable in the 14th General Election even if it is held in July/August next year. Read the rest of this entry »

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UMNO/BN must be voted out of Putrajaya at least once if Malaysia is to become a normal democratic country and break the present national trajectory trending down the slippery slope towards a fractured, failed and rogue state

Many are asking about the future of Malaysia after the two big Barisan Nasional wins in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections a week ago, with the backdrop of the BN landslide victory in the Sarawak State General Election and the previous Teluk Intan by-election.

Is it still possible for Malaysians to hope for political change in Putrajaya at the 14th General Election whether in 2018 or a year earlier in July or August next year or in the near future?

Let us have a reality check as we have travelled quite a political distance in Malaysia. Only eight years ago, before the 2008 General Election, if any Malaysian was asked if it was possible foresee a change of Federal Government, the answer would be an unanimous and and unambiguous “No”.

But the “political tsunami” of the 2008 General Election had completely changed the political landscape, and what had been “unthinkable” and “impossible” had been transformed into a “thinkable”, “possible” and “achievable”, and the question of a change of Federal Government has taken the quantum leap from “whether” to “when” and “how”.

The 2013 General Election was fought on the platform of a change of Federal Government, and although 53% of the voters voted for change, victory was denied them because of the undemocratic electoral system which allowed Datuk Najib Razak to become the nation’s first minority Prime Minister by winning 60 per cent of the parliamentary seats though only securing a minority of 47% of the popular vote.

Malaysia is now an extraordinary paradox – on the one hand, Najib Razak an increasingly more powerful and unshakeable Prime Minister of Malaysia inside the country , while internationally he is under increasing siege perceived as corrupt, haunted and hounded by the RM55 billion 1MDB global scandal (which contained within it the RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal) which is being investigated by seven other countries. Read the rest of this entry »

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A paradox, but two by-election victories make UMNO/BN leaders more desperate for general election victory and there will be greater demonization campaign against the opposition – such as painting me as anti-Malay, anti-Islam or even anti-Chinese

This is a paradox – but the two by-election victories in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar have made UMNO/BN leaders more desperate for victory in the 14th General Election and I expect a greater demonization campaign against the Opposition – such as painting me as anti-Malay, anti-Islam and even as anti-Chinese.

I will give three examples post twin by-elections:

Firstly, I would place in such a category the statement by the former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad who alleged that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s support of opposition parties DAP and Amanah in the recent by-elections were “detrimental to Malays”.

He said that the former prime minister could try and oust Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from within Umno, but should steer clear of lobbying for support within the Pakatan Harapan opposition alliance as the chances of Malays retaining power once they have lost it is “very slim”.

Could the former Chief Justice answer the two questions which had been posed by the National Laureate Pak Samad:

“How are Malays under threat? How can religion (Islam) and Malays be threatened when those in power have been Malay for over five decades?

“What have they (Malay leaders) been doing for five decades (if Malays can be under threat)?”

Whatever happens in the 14th General Election, whether Najib is toppled as Prime Minister or UMNO loses the Federal Government, the Malays in Malaysia will continue to exercise political power in Malaysia as there is no way they will lose their political power. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why a one-to-one fight is not the “magic potion” to defeat Barisan Nasional without a common policy commitment

There has been a vehement reaction to my suggestion that the results of the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections may be justification to revisit an earlier proposal that PAS concentrate in Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis while AMANAH focus on all the other states, subject to adjustments to the arrangement by two political parties.

PAS Vice President and MP for Bukit Gantang Idris Ahmad described the suggestion as “illogical” and that PAS should be allowed to contest in areas it had previously contested in to “maximise victories for the opposition” – as in last Saturday’s Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections.

He said there would not have been an issue in the first place if PAS was up in straight fights against the Barisan Nasional in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections.

Idris cannot be more wrong, for the recent two by-elections are good examples why after the break-up of Pakatan Rakyat because of the refusal of the Hadi-led PAS leadership to honour the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework and the Pakatan Rakyat consensus operational principle, the one-to-one fight is not the “magic potion” to defeat the Barisan Nasional. Read the rest of this entry »

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An early GE14 on the cards?

P Gunasegaram
Malaysiakini
21 Jun 2016

QUESTION TIME While most people had expected BN to win the parliamentary seats of Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar hands down, the huge margin of victory must have surprised both BN and the opposition and raises the possibility of early general elections in the wake of the euphoria and an opposition in disarray.

But before we discuss that, what caused the rout and what are its implications? By numbers, two things seem fairly obvious. One, there was a massive swing to BN of Chinese votes and two, Amanah’s support among Malay votes were even lower than expected. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fallacies and facts on the two by-elections

Kim Quek
Malaysiakini
21 Jun 2016

COMMENT Bombastic assertions abound since the conclusion of the by-elections in Sungai Besar, Selangor and Kuala Kangsar, Perak. Chief among these are Malaysians’ resounding endorsement of PM Najib Abdul Razak’s otherwise precarious leadership and the allegedly corrupt rule of the Barisan Nasional government, as well as a huge shift of Chinese support to BN.

These claims are in reality more fallacy than fact. Read the rest of this entry »

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The June by-elections and the politics of losing

Bridget Welsh
Malaysiakini
21st June 2018

COMMENT The by-election results for Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar are in. Umno held onto their seats, and increased its majorities.

Given the tragedy surrounding the polls stemming from the helicopter accident in Sarawak last month, the fact that by-elections disproportionately favour those with access to resources, and the reality that these contests were three-cornered fights with a divided opposition, these results are not unexpected.

The important implications of these by-elections lies less in the winning, but in the losing – as the shifts in campaigning, voting and political alignments reveal that old dreams are gone. Malaysian electoral politics is shifting, and all indications are that the direction is not toward a stronger, more vibrant polity that offers meaningful choices to the electorate. Read the rest of this entry »

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If Hadi is right, it must be Allah’s will that 65-year-old PAS is defeated by nine-month-old AMANAH and crushed in Sungai Besar by-election securing one per cent of Chinese votes when it received 75% Chinese voter support in 2013GE

This must be the first time that the UMNO President has beaten PAS President in claiming divine intervention for an electoral victory.

On Saturday night, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he had turned to God for answers if he was on the right path or whether he had really strayed, and Barisan Nasional’s “thumping victories in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections was God’s answer to his prayers”.
Najib said:

“I don’t reply with harsh words. I only want to work. I prayed to Allah, if I am right, then show it.

“(Then) God gave us victory beyond our expectations.”

It will not be long before there will be claims that Najib’s RM55 billion 1MDB and RM2.5 billion “donation” twin global scandals have received God’s blessings as well.

In the two by-elections, the student has outshone the teacher, as the “adviser” took two full days to recover from PAS’ stinging defeats in the two by-elections and to urge PAS supporters not to despair as it is in Allah’s powers to dictate victory for all who uphold Islam.

If the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang is right, it must be Allah’s will that the 65-year-old PAS is defeated by nine-month-old AMANAH and crushed in Sungai Besar by-election, securing one per cent of Chinese votes when it received 75% Chinese voter support in 2013GE. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections be the last battles for the politics of race and the opening salvoes for the battle for the new politics of good governance, democracy and nation-building

The two Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-election results on Saturday have given rise to ecstasy and euphoria on the one hand and gloom and doom on the other.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib was so elated by the twin by-election results that he even proudly embraced Tun Mahathir’s description of him in Jerlun two days earlier and proclaimed that “Idi Amin of Malaysia is more popular” than Malaysia’s former longest-serving Prime Minister.

UMNO/Barisan Nasional leaders celebrated the “return” of the Chinese voters to Barisan Nasional and there is talk of an earlier 14th General Elections next year although it was scheduled for 2018.

UMNO/BN virtually proclaimed a new political dawn with the mythical “skyrocketing” majorities in two by-elections – 9,191 votes in Kuala Kangsar and 6,969 votes in Sungai Besar.

But as the former Batu Kawan Umno vice chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan has rightly pointed out, BN’s majority was not that big once all the votes for the opposition were taken into account.

If the Amanah and PAS votes are combined, BN’s majority is reduced to 2,086 in Kuala Kangsar or 8.73% of the total votes cast and 2,289 in Sungai Besi or 7.31 per cent. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib sticks it to nemisis Mahathir with twin byelection victories

Amanda Hodge
The Australian
JUNE 20, 2016

The party of Malaysia’s scandal-tainted Prime Minister Najib Razak has won two by-elections in a landslide, further strengthening his rule despite corruption allegations.

Malaysia’s Teflon-coated Prime Minister Najib Razak has claimed a key victory over political mentor-turned foe Mahathir Mohamad with landslide wins in two weekend by-elections.

Mr Najib has survived not only an international scandal over an alleged misappropriation of ­billions from his pet 1MDB state development fund, but also allegations he profited by as much as $US1 billion from the fund, which he denies.

Mr Najib’s Barison Nasional coalition held the west coast seats of Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar on Saturday with increased majorities. Though the victories were expected, the by-elections had been billed as a test of Mr Najib’s ability to lead the party, which has ruled Malaysia for 57 years, back into government at the general election.

On Saturday night, Mr Najib took aim at Dr Mahathir, who referred to the Prime Minister as the “Idi Amin of Malaysia”.

“He called me the Idi Amin of Malaysia. (Well) the Idi Amin of Malaysia is more popular,” Mr Najib told party loyalists. Read the rest of this entry »

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