Umbrellas and flags in the rain at opposition rally.
Protests in Malaysia against alleged “fraudulent” election
Malaysian protestors defy police ban to rally against election results
By Phillippa Stewart, Kuala Lumpur
Thousands of protestors risked arrest to attend a rally to protest against what opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has called “the worst electoral fraud” in Malaysia’s history.
Local election watchdogs have also questioned the results of the election.
A joint report released Wednesday by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) and the Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) said that the election was “only partially free and not fair.” http://ideas.org.my/?p=6799
The report said the election was carried out “on a very uneven field” citing: a pro-government media bias in mainstream media, lack of transparency in campaign spending, questions over the lack of trust in the integrity of the electoral roll, the impartiality of the Election Commission, exploitation of racial issues, and unreliable indelible ink.
The United States and European Union also acknowledged concerns over electoral “irregularities,” according to AFP.
The government has denied any wrongdoing.
Dressed in black protestors packed into Kelana Jaya stadium on the outskirts of the capital; cars left abandoned on the motorway.
Waving flags, blowing vuvuzelas and rocking out to upbeat tunes the mood was more festive than fearful. Opposition leaders roused the crowds with statements like: “we will win the war”, “today we start the fight back” and “reformasi” (reform).
Aman Shah Ahmad, 47, a construction work was helping his brother sell black t-shirts at the entrance to the stadium.
“We have problems with authoritarian rule. Everything looks democratic but there’s lots of hanky-panky going on behind the scenes. I want the election result to be reviewed. We want a re-election. Please tell the world,” he said.
Asked if he was afraid of being arrested, he said: “how are the police going to arrest all of us? There’s not enough space in the police stations to luck us all up!”
Mukhzani Alia, 18, a student, said: “we want change in the government. They’ve spent the last 55 years cheating on us, it’s time for change.”
Sharon Balon, 22, and her family were outside the stadium holding yellow flowers and anti government placards.
“We’ve had to leave the stadium,” she said. “It’s too hot in there – so many people. We are all so angry, that’s why we’re here tonight.” Malaysia’s state news agency, Bernama, reported that the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar, had warned that rally participants would be arrested. http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v7/newsindex.php?id=948221
Evoking the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, the police said the rally was illegal because organisers did not apply for a police permit for the event. Organisers must also inform the police 10 days before an event.
According to AFP, the opposition acknowledged the rally was “not within the letter of the law.”
However, there was no visible police presence at the rally.
Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was returned to power Sunday, although with a reduced majority. The Barisan Nasional coalition has been in power since 1957.