Malaysia′s ruling National Front win election | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 05.05.2013
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Asia

Malaysia's ruling National Front win election

Malaysia's long ruling National Front coalition have won control of parliament securing 112 seats needed to ensure to extend its 56 year rule.

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - MAY 04: Supporters stand in front of a poster of Malaysia's Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Najib Razak during an election rally to address young parliamentary constituency voters at his hometown on May 4, 2013 in Pekan, Malaysia. The election, set for May 5, will see incumbent PM Najib Razak face Anwar Ibrahim, whose opposition coalition includes moderates, Islamists and Malaysians of Chinese descent (Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images)

Wahlen Malaysia 2013

Malaysia's Electoral Commission announced Sunday evening the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition had secured the parliamentary seats needed to retain government.

With a record 80-percent voter turnout this week's opinion polls showed strong support for former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's three-party opposition alliance.

A survey released on Friday by the Merkeda Center for Opinion Research showed the opposition just 1 percentage point ahead of incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak's long ruling ethnic-Malay Barisan regime.

The party has held power for decades, but anger rose across the country in recent days over controversial policies favoring Malays, as well as authoritarian tactics and corruption.

More than 10.6 million of the 13.3 million eligible voters cast their vote for 222 parliamentary seats and 505 state seats, in what was the first postcolonial election in which the incumbent National Front coalition (Barisan Nasional) has faced a genuine challenge, deputy elections commissioner Ahmad Omar said.

Warnings of voter fraud

Earlier the opposition had alleged several irregularities in the vote including a charge that tens of thousands of "dubious" voters were flown to key constituencies to sway results.

According to election commission chief Abdul Aziz Yusof, however, it is not an offense to pay for the electorate's travel expenses of voters, so long as citizens are not instructed which way to vote.

The secretary of the National Front, Adnan Mansor, admitted that its allies had organized chartered flights, but said they were not so-called unregistered "phantom voters.”

He countered that the opposition had chartered buses to transport voters back from Singapore, and that election monitor group the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections "has paid for Malaysians to fly back from Shanghai and Hong Kong."

Some online media outlets are worried they will be targeted in Internet attacks that filter content or access to websites, hindering voter access to independent reporting. Most traditional media is owned by interests linked to Barisan Nasional.

"During the 2008 election, we were wiped off the Internet," said Premesh Chandran, chief of the independent online news provider Malaysiakini.

"Our concern is that we'll see a repeat of that on May 5. Can we really live without independent media on election night, given that both sides might not accept the result?"

jlw/jm (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)