Opposition wins big in Malaysia

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/08/world/asia/08cnd-malaysia.html?ref=world

The elections were peaceful but the government is now concerned about street celebrations getting out of hand. Prime Minister Badawi has lost his 2/3rds majority. This as a victory for democracy and freedom in Malaysia.

“I don’t think Malaysian politics will ever be the same again,” said Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister who was expelled from the ruling party a decade ago and is now one of the leaders of the opposition. “There is a wave, an outcry for democratic reform.”

The opposition parties unseated several longtime political veterans by fielding fresh but inexperienced candidates, including a political science professor, popular blogger and a human rights activist.

The opposition did especially well in urban areas, winning at least 7 of the 11 seats in Kuala Lumpur. But it also made inroads into the rural heartland. The Pan-Islamic Party, one of the three main opposition parties, strengthened its control over the northern state of Kelantan and appeared to have won control of neighboring Kedah state.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

6 responses to “Opposition wins big in Malaysia

  1. hashim

    yeah!!!DAP,pkr,pas menang!
    yes! anwar for PM yes!!!!

  2. BN actually only won 51% of the popular vote, but it took 63% of the seats (140 out of 222) in parliament due to the gerrymandering.

    However, in peninsula Malaysia, they only got 49.79% of the vote! This means that the opposition actually won the peninsula (which is the most developed & most populous 11 states of the country.) But due to the gerrymandering, BN got 85 parliamentary seats while the opposition got 80.

    So now 40% of BN’s seats are from Sabah and Sarawak – 55 out of 140. These are states with large Christian populations — mostly tribal peoples. Hopefully, this means the BN will be a lot more sensitive towards Christian issues, and not do nasty things like the ban on Christians who speak Malay and other related languages from calling God the Father “Allah” as they have done for generations.

    Another interesting thing that may surprise Americans is that in this fight for democracy, the fundamentalist Islamic party PAS has been the firm ally of the broad-based People’s Justice Party (PKR) and the non-Muslim led Democratic Action Party (DAP). PAS has in recent years been a good friend to use pro-Democracy people. Yes, in Malaysia the fundamentalist Muslims have been better friends to us than the corrupt “Moderate” Muslim UMNO.

  3. P.S. The popular vote figures above do not take into account the votes of the 9,000 “over 100-year-old people” and the tens of thousands of military and police votes which they could send to any constituency to stuff the ballot boxes that they desperately wanted to save.

    A friend of mine whose father passed away 35 years ago is on the voter rolls! And I’m sure he came back from the grave and voted for BN!

  4. So if you delete these fraudulent votes & gerrymandering, I think BN should actually have lost the majority in the federal parliament! DAP + PKR + PAS probably actually won the popular vote.

  5. Here’s an article from MalaysiaKini.com on this:

    PKR reps in a rush to get down to work
    Chan Kok Leong | Mar 10, 08 11:15am

    A real carnival atmosphere was evident at PKR’s de facto Anwar Ibrahim’s house in Segambut last night. The reason was obvious – the party has had its best ever results in a general election, winning 31 parliamentary and 40 state seats.

    The manner in which the party’s new Yang Berhormats patted each other on the back and shook hands, it was evident that this was a significant achievement for the party.

    More interestingly, they had achieved this as a single party with three different races fighting on issues for everyone instead of their own communities.

    The modest dinner to congratulate all the winners last night looked more like conference for activists with R Sivarasa, Elizabeth Wong, Wee Choo Keong, Dr Syed Husin Ali, the new Selangor MB designate Khalid Ibrahim than a gathering of politicians.

    Not until Anwar entered the stage did the event carry an air of politics. Nevertheless, after a quick round to congratulate the winners and console the less fortunate, the PKR de facto leader got down to business straight away.

    With everyone ushered into his living room, the 60-year-old restored order with a quick, “Yang Berhormats, kita dah nak bermula. (YBs, we are about to start)”

    “We called this meeting to meet all the Parliament and state representatives, to remind them of their commitment to a reform agenda.”

    “This is a historic moment and marks the beginning of a new era for the country, PKR and our political partners. We won because of the support and the aspirations of all the different races.”

    “Our representatives will be constantly reminded that the mandate is given by all Malaysians and not any specific race,” said Anwar.

    The party’s main priority

    While he admitted that race-base politics are still a factor in Malaysia, he hoped that PKR’s multi-ethnic platform will be the base for an alternative vision.

    “The assumption that this party cannot exists by analysts is flawed. What they attempted to do was to compare us to what Onn Jaafar tried to do 50 years ago. That had different circumstances and a different agenda.”

    Sandwiched between his wife and party president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Syed Husin and Khalid, Anwar said that they are also bound to fight abuse of power, mismanagement and corruption.

    Poverty, inflation and public housing issues will be their main priority.

    Their first priority, is also to set up a state government in Selangor with Khalid as the Menteri Besar and support their partners DAP and PAS in Penang, Kedah and Kelantan. PKR was due to discuss the MB position in Perak last night.

    “Once we are done with setting up or supporting our partners in the formation of state governments, everyone must get to work immediately,” said Anwar.

    But he told everyone that there should be no unnecessary costs involved.

    “There will be no new cars or huge budgets for renovating offices and so forth. Those are the excesses of the past that we must not adopt.”

    “We will also not surrender any cars to the outgoing excos as is the normal practice, so that everyone uses the existing vehicles. Because the tradition of selling cars to the outgoing Menteris Besar cheaply need to be stopped,” he explained.

    On Saturday, Malaysia went through a historic moment more important than sending a man into space.

    It was momentous not because it had given the opposition its biggest mandate. It was significant not because it denied Barisan Nasional its routine two-thirds majority. It was meaningful not because it was a peaceful transition.

    But it was historic because Malaysians have come of age and broke away from their communal fears to vote away from racial lines.

    The rakyat are used to promises to end corruption, provide transparency and to help the poor regardless of race before. Hopefully, PKR will keep theirs.

  6. Pingback: Anwar Ibrahim’s Historic Victory Speech at his house « To the Moon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s