Saturday, March 8, 2008

Congrats, Malaysia! Now, get rid of Badawi.

Congrats, Malaysia! Now, get rid of Badawi who has lost moral authority to rule.

Watch video: Why Badawi lost big:
Malaysian opposition scores upset
Story Highlights
National Front falls short of a majority in elections, preliminary results show
The opposition alliance claims 82 seats, or 37 percent
PM and National Front leader Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says he's not resigning
"The people of Malaysia have spoken," opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says
(CNN) -- In a surprise upset, Malaysia's ruling party, which has retained power since the nation declared independence in 1967, fell short of a two-thirds majority Saturday amid rising inflation, crime and ethnic tensions.
The protest vote gave the opposition alliance a third of parliament and control of five states, according to the Associated Press.
"Political tsunami," read the headline of Malaysia's The Star newspaper.
The National Front's loss raised questions about the future of its party leader, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
His predecessor, Mahathir Mohamad, has called for his resignation, The Associated Press reported, a prospect Badawi shot down in a news conference after preliminary results were announced.
"I'm not resigning," said Badawi, who has held his post since November 2003.
His National Front coalition won 137 of the 222 seats at stake, or less than 62 percent, the Election Commission announced in releasing preliminary results, according to state news agency Bernama.
The opposition alliance of the Democratic Action Party, the People's Justice Party and the Islamic Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS claimed 82 seats, or 37 percent.
By contrast, in 2004, the National Front clinched 199 of 219 seats, or nearly 91 percent.
"Today, at the ballot box, you listened to your heart with a firm conviction that the time for change has arrived," former Deputy Prime Minister and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said. "The people of Malaysia have spoken. This is a defining moment, unprecedented in our nation's history." Watch Anwar describe the election as a "defining moment" »
Badawi has been battling demonstrations against alleged vote fraud for weeks and demanded an overhaul of Malaysia's electoral commission before the election.
Last fall, more than 30,000 protesters gathered in the streets and faced squads of police with water cannons.

Malaysia's governing coalition takes heavy hit in elections
By Thomas Fuller

Sunday, March 9, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's governing coalition, which has run this multiracial country without any major challenges for the past four decades, suffered a string of election defeats on Saturday, losing control of three major states and all but surrendering urban areas to the opposition.

Results early Sunday showed that the coalition of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi won 136 of 222 seats in Parliament, enough to be able to remain in power. But unexpectedly strong gains by opposition parties, which quadrupled their seats in Parliament, are likely to challenge the longstanding paternalistic practices of a government that controls the mainstream media, bans most street protests, bars students from taking part in politics and jails political opponents without trial.

Stripped of its long-held two-thirds majority in Parliament, the governing coalition will no longer be able to freely amend the constitution, which it has done more than 40 times since independence from Britain in 1957.

Anger among ethnic Indians and Chinese over religious disputes and economic preferences for the Malays, the majority ethnic group, appeared to play a major role in the opposition's gains.

"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 governing 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 political veterans by fielding fresh but inexperienced candidates, including a political science professor, a popular blogger and a human rights advocate.

Opposition candidates did especially well in urban areas, winning 10 of the 11 seats in Kuala Lumpur, the commercial capital, and capturing the relatively prosperous and populous states of Selangor and Penang. The opposition 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 won control over the states of Kedah and Perak.

Losing control of those states is a blow for the governing coalition because states have jurisdiction over land allocation, local matters and Islamic laws.

Voters showed their anger over a recent government crackdown against ethnic Indians by electing to a state legislature M. Manoharan, one of five advocates jailed after a street protest by Indians. It is unclear how Manoharan, who is being detained without a trial, will carry out his duties.

The loss of Penang, which alone among Malaysia's 13 states has a majority of Chinese voters, is a major blow to Abdullah, whose constituency is based there. The state is an industrial center, producing microchips, cell phones and computer parts in factories owned by Intel, Dell and Motorola, among many others.

The departing chief minister, or governor, of Penang, Koh Tsu Koon, lost his seat on Saturday to a dissident university professor, P. Ramasamy.

The leaders of the two ethnic Indians parties represented in the government also lost their seats, including the only ethnic Indian in the cabinet, Samy Vellu.

Those losses call into question the future of the country's race-based coalition, a system in place since independence in which each major ethnic group - Malays, Chinese and Indians - is represented by a political party.

Opposition leaders have vowed to move Malaysia away from the system, with the National Justice Party of Anwar the loudest proponent of the change. Anwar, who many see as a possible future prime minister, is barred from holding public office until April because of a conviction for abuse of power in a politically charged trial. But his wife and his daughter won seats in Parliament on Saturday.

He said in an interview that he would not rule out asking a member of his party to resign so he can run in a by-election. "I'm not in a hurry," said Anwar, whose party won 32 seats, up from one seat in the last election in 2004.

Ivy Sam, Agence France-Presse
Kuala Lumpur, March 09, 2008
First Published: 10:42 IST(9/3/2008)
Last Updated: 11:04 IST(9/3/2008)

Malaysia's ruling coalition suffers stunning blow

Malaysia's ruling coalition suffered a stunning blow in weekend polls, losing its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time in nearly 40 years and conceding four states to a resurgent opposition.
The result puts a question mark over the future of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who said in the early hours of Sunday that the Barisan Nasional coalition could form the next government but declined further comment.

"I will issue a statement and give my views after everything is over. That is all I have to say," the visibly exhausted prime minister told reporters at the headquarters of his United Malays National Organisation party.

Asked if the results were a vote of no confidence in his leadership, which has been criticised as weak and ineffective, Abdullah responded: "Maybe. There are a lot of messages from the people."

Barisan Nasional, which has governed Malaysia for half a century, won 137 seats in the new 222-seat parliament but had needed 148 to form the two-thirds majority that allows it to amend the constitution at will.

The Keadilan party of former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim, who has made a spectacular political comeback after his 1998 sacking and imprisonment, won 31 seats for the biggest opposition presence in the new parliament.

The Chinese-based Democratic Action Party (DAP) won 28 and the Islamic party PAS won 23.

In an unprecedented result, the states of Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor all fell into the hands of the main opposition, while PAS extended its hold on Kelantan which it had ruled with a razor-thin majority.

It was the worst defeat the ruling coalition suffered since 1969, when it last lost its two-thirds majority in a result that was followed shortly after by serious racial clashes.

Abdullah had won a landslide victory in 2004 polls after taking over from veteran premier Mahathir Mohamad, but analysts said he was being punished this time for high inflation, rising crime rates and mounting ethnic tensions.

Minority voters are concerned over the growing "Islamisation" of Malaysia and are angry at the government's refusal to drop affirmative action policies for Muslim Malays that provide advantages in housing, education and business.

"It's an overwhelming protest vote against the government. It shows a maturing society which doesn't necessarily vote solely upon racial lines," said Tricia Yeoh, director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies thinktank.

"They are voting according to principles instead and are practising priciples of mature democracy."

While Malaysia's minority ethnic Indians and Chinese had been expected to turn away from the government, pollsters said the coalition also suffered a loss of support from the majority Muslim Malays who form its bedrock.

In the outgoing 219-seat parliament, there were 199 lawmakers from Barisan Nasional -- an alliance of 14 race-based parties -- with 12 from DAP, six from PAS, one from Keadilan and one independent.

Rights monitors and opposition leaders had warned that the coalition could manipulate the vote in tightly fought seats.

Concerns over electoral fraud triggered a clash between PAS supporters and police in northern Terengganu state. Authorities using tear gas to disperse some 300 people and 22 people were arrested.

Sunday, March 09, 2008
Revolution in Malaysia
Sophie's World is still surprised but glad with the totally unprecedented electoral outcome in Malaysia. Sophie's World is digesting the latest news and views, and and will provide a more detailed analysis soon.

But the signs are very clear. It's a revolution.

9 March 2008
Malaysia's BN suffers worst upset in national polls
KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S ruling party faced its biggest electoral debacle on Sunday, as the opposition won five of 13 states, putting a dark cloud on the prime minister's political future.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's multi-racial National Front coalition managed to win just a simple majority in parliament and will form the government at the federal level.
But it lost a crucial two-thirds parliamentary majority it has held for most of its 50-year-long rule, the election body said. That level is needed to change the constitution.
Mr Abdullah dismissed suggestions by a reporter that he would now face pressure from party members to step down.
'I don't know who would pressure me. There is nothing at this time,' he said. 'We suffered a lot of losses tonight,' Mr Abdullah's son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin told reporters. 'But we are going to fight on. We are not going to quit. It is not the end of the world and we are going to get through this.'
The leftist Chinese-backed Democratic Action Party (DAP) won Penang state, which houses many multinational firms.

The opposition Islamist party PAS scored shock victories in the northern heartland states of Kedah and Perak and easily retained power in its stronghold in northeastern Kelantan state.
DAP and PAS also joined the People's Justice Party, or Parti Keadilan, to take control of the industrial state of Selangor and almost all the seats in capital Kuala Lumpur.
'Tomorrow we will start building a brighter future,' opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim, whose wife heads Parti Keadilan, told reporters. 'This is a new dawn for Malaysia.'
The shock defeat in Penang stirred memories of the last time the ruling coalition failed to win a two-thirds majority, in 1969, when deadly race riots erupted between majority ethnic Malays and minority Chinese.
'This is the biggest defeat ever since our party's founding 40 years ago,' Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon said.
'I feel sad and surprised. I urge all National Front members to stay calm and not to take any action that could jeopardise peace and security in the state.'
Police vowed to use tough internal security laws against anyone spreading rumours and banned victory processions, one of which had triggered the 1969 violence.
Results from the elections commission as of 2145 GMT (5.45am Singapore time) showed the National Front with 137 seats in the 222-seat parliament versus 82 for the opposition, with 3 seats still being tallied.
Referendum on Abdullah
'This looks like a revolution,' PAS Vice-President Husam Musa said. 'The people have risen and are united. The message to government is, 'Enough is enough.'' The poll, called before it was due in May 2009, was widely seen as a referendum on Mr Abdullah's rule, and Malaysians took the opportunity to administer a stinging rebuke over price rises, religious disputes and concerns over corruption .
'I think the PM will potentially have to resign,' said Bridget Welsh, a Malaysia specialist at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. 'This is unprecedented. The only other time this happened was in 1969 and that's why everybody is very nervous now because of the uncertainty.'
Works Minister Samy Vellu, chief of the Malaysian Indian Congress, one of the National Front parties, lost the seat he had held for nearly 30 years, because many Indians thought he was out of touch with their concerns.
Two other cabinet ministers, both ethnic Malays, also lost.
Detained ethnic Indian activist and lawyer M. Manoharan delivered another slap in the face of the government, winning a parliamentary seat despite being held under internal security laws for organising a major anti-government protest last year.
Chinese and Indians account for a third of the population of 26 million and many complain the government discriminates in favour of Malays when it comes to education, jobs, business and religious policy.
About 70 per cent of Malaysia's 10.9 million eligible voters had cast ballots, the country's top poll official said.
Opposition rallies drew big crowds, especially Chinese and Indian voters unhappy with Mr Abdullah's Malay-dominated coalition.
First-time voter Michael Lim said he voted for an opposition party.
'They have not taken care of the people,' he said in Kuala Lumpur, referring to the ruling coalition. 'A lot of promises were made, but nothing was fulfilled.'
'This is a defining moment, unprecedented in our nation's history,' said opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. 'The people have voted decisively for a new era where the government must be truly inclusive and recognise that all Malaysians, regardless of race and colour, culture and religion, are a nation of one,' Mr Anwar said.
'This clearly shows Malaysians want an alternative. Going forward Malays, Indians and Chinese all have to work together and make a formidable pact.'
A key issue in the elections was the disillusionment among Malaysia's minority ethnic Chinese and Indian population who have long complained about discrimination, particularly an affirmative action system that gives the majority Muslim Malays preference in jobs, business and education.
The programme was designed 37 years ago to help the Malays catch up with the wealthier Chinese. But minorities complain the programme continues despite rising standards of livings for Malays.
The National Front held 90 per cent of the seats in the outgoing federal parliament. Political experts had predicted Mr Abdullah's continued leadership could be in jeopardy if his majority fell back below 80 per cent, or around 178 seats, in the new 222-seat parliament.
The economy grew 6 per cent last year but inflation and a likely US economic slowdown have fueled worries. -- REUTERS, AP
Posted by Sophie at 12:30 PM

Ruling Coalition Suffers Major Elections Defeat - Malaysia Boleh!!!
Dear readers of my blog,
Despite being in China right now, I am jumping about my hotel room in glee. The corrupt ruling coalition (Barisan National) has suffered the worst ever election results since the 1957 independance thanks to clever teamwork between the opposition parties and blogs!
Let me give you the details, point-by-point:
1. In 1969, the majority Malay community had stayed loyal to Barisan while the Chinese backed the opposition, setting the stage for racial clashes. Malaysia’s streets were largely quiet, and political experts said they doubted there would be racial violence this time, noting that all of Malaysia’s major ethnic communities - Malays, Chinese and Indians - had deserted the government.
2. Stripped of their long-held two-thirds majority in Parliament, Barisan Nasional will no longer be able to freely amend the Constitution, which it has done more than 40 times since independence from Britain in 1957.
3. Barisan Nasional has lost the state of Kedah to the PAS (the Islamaic party) who will form the next state government
4. The defeat of Barisan Nasional in the state of Kedah is shocking, PAS took 38 of the 45 state seats. Note that 80% of the population in that state turned out to vote!
5. The much loathed president of the MIC (Malaysia Indian Congress) has been defeated. He can’t handover the presidency of his number 2 or 3 (they were defeated as well). In fact all but 3 of the MIC candidates were defeated, a clear sign of rejection by the Malaysian Indians.
6. The opposition party DAP (Malaysia for All Malaysians), has taken Penang - blogger Jeff Ooi (whom I supported here) has won, making him the first blogger in parliament.
7. The combined opposition of DAP, PKR and PAS will form the new government in Perak. Collectively the three parties have won 30 seats (DAP - 18, PKR - 6, PAS - 6) out of 59 seats.
8. Jailed for years for sodomy, former minister Anwar Ibrahim fielded his daughter (Nurul Izzah Anwar of PKR) in his place (criminals can’t stand for election) and she won the Lembah Pantai seat. His wife, Wan Azizah - won the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat by a 13,388-vote majority. Nicely done!
9. The opposition have taken over the state of Selengor. The opposition needed just 29 seats to form the state government with a simple majority - they won 35 seats!
10. BN retains Johor with reduced majorities losing the shocking seats of Bakri Parliamentary seat and the state seats of Skudai, Bentayan, Senai and Mengkibol to the DAP. It also lost the Sungai Abong and the Maharani state seat to Pas. In the past, the opposition has never won more than 2 seats at best.
The DAP retained its Bandar Kuching seat (Kennysia’s playground) with a larger majority this time round.
11. The PM’s son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin beat PKR’s Badrul Hisham Shaharin
12. Manoharan, a detainee under the Internal Security Act has won in the general election. He is currently being detained for his involvement in Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf aka Indians Kena Bully).
13. The current Miss Malaysia, Deborah Priya Henry needs to shut the f87k up and smell the roses.
14. We Welcome These Bloggers Into Public Office!

March 9, 2008
HINDRAF prowls in Malaysian polls
Ethnic Tamil Minister Velu defeated in Malaysian polls
Result of HINDRAF effect
Malaysia's long-serving Tamil minister Samy Velu was on Saturday handed down a surprise defeat in Malaysian snap polls seen as a 'litmus test' for the ruling coalition, which faces the danger of a getting its majority dented.
Even on Friday, he was confident that ethnic Tamils will overwhelmingly vote for him and his government and would not be misled by a few leaders who had been running a campaign complaining of racial inequality in the multi-ethnic country.
Adding salt to the ruling coalition's injury was the impressive victory of detained Hindu Rights Action Force leader M Manoharan fighting on opposition Democratic Action Party ticket from the Kota Alam Shah state seat in Selangor. He beat Barisan Nasional's Ching Su Chen, reports here said.
Manoharan, whose organisation has been fighting against the alleged marginalisation of ethnic Indians, has been behind bars since late 2007 along with four other Hindraf leaders for organising the November 25 ethnic Indians' rally. His wife, a political novice, campaigned relentlessly for him.

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