An Analysis of Malaysia's 1999 Tenth General Elections

Introduction

It is now almost two years since Anwar Ibrahim was sacked from UMNO in September 1998 and subsequently put in jail on trumped-up criminal charges. Various moves have been made to try to get a fair trial for DSAI, but from the way the trial is going it seems like this is something impossible to expect.

Currently, an appeal against the court’s decision on the first trial is ongoing but the legal counsels do not expect any success here. They are of the opinion that the outcome of the appeal is a foregone conclusion – which is the appeal will be turned down.

According to our sources in the police force, the first two trials are only the beginning in a series of 10 cases they have against DSAI. Whether they will stop at these first two or choose to continue is yet to be decided. However, if need be, they have enough "ammunition" to keep Anwar Ibrahim "locked up in court" until the end of his political career. In other words, even if the appeal on the first sentence succeeds, there are still many more battles to come.

Is There Hope For A Change Through The Ballot Box?

Last year the opposition parties, under the banner of the Barisan Alternatif (BA), contested in the Tenth General Elections. All the four coalition partners unanimously agreed that, in the event the BA succeeds in the General Elections, Anwar Ibrahim would be appointed the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Of course this appointment would not be automatic. First of all, Anwar Ibrahim be given a fresh trial. If the court finds Anwar Ibrahim innocent, only then would he be released from jail and appointed as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

From the outcome of the Tenth General Elections it can be seen that if we are going to expect change through the ballot box it is going to be a long wait – maybe forever. And why is this?

Let us analyse how General Elections are conducted in Malaysia to get a better perspective of the reality of Malaysian elections – and why we cannot hope for change through the ballot box.

An Analysis Of The Previous General Elections

Malaysia’s first Parliamentary General Election was held 40 years before this, in 1959. According to the government-of-the-day, they have always had the majority of the people’s support except for a brief period in 1969.

Let us analyse the results of all those past elections to give us a better understanding of the recently concluded Tenth General Elections and why it turned out the way it did.

Voter Turnout

First of all, let’s look at the voter turnout. Voter turnout has never been good and it has always been to the ruling party’s benefit if lesser people came out to vote. In fact, the higher the voter turnout the higher the opposition gains. That is why the opposition parties always make more effort to get as many voters as possible to come out and vote. The ruling government would be quite happy if the voters all stayed home. Sometimes they would even do certain things to make it more difficult for the voters to come out and vote.

In the First Parliamentary General Election in 1959, the voter turnout was only 73.3% or 1.55 million voters. 600,000 people decided to just stay home. Surprisingly the Alliance Party managed only 51.8% of the votes. You would imagine they would have performed better than that, considering they took the country through Independence barely two years before.

It must be noted that the Alliance Party comprised of UMNO, MCA and MIC. Therefore UMNO, on their own, did not even get 50% of the votes - which means many Malays DID NOT support UMNO. So much for Malay supremacy touted by UMNO! In terms of seats though, they won 74 out of 104 or around 71%. So they managed to form the government.

Five years on, in the 1964 General Election, the voter turnout increased slightly to 78.9%. In this election the ruling party garnered 58.5% of the votes. The increased votes can easily be attributed to the increase in registered voters. The number of registered voters had increased by 28% but the ruling party saw an increase of 50% in their votes. 500,000 more voters came out to vote for this election and 400,000 of these votes went to the Alliance – an impressive performance indeed. Their number of seats won increased to 86% - which, more or less, gave them a landslide victory.

In 1969 the voter turnout dropped back to 73.6%. In this historic election (historic only because of the racial riots that followed it) the ruling party managed a paltry 44.9% of the votes. Out of the 144 seats contested, the Alliance party managed only 74 giving them slightly better than half and FAR SHORT of the two-thirds they needed to form an effective government.

That’s when all hell broke loose – organized chaos if you wish - infamously known as the May 13 incident.

The ruling party probably performed their best ever during the 1974 General Election. They managed to obtain 60.7% of the votes. But this is only because the old Alliance party no longer existed and the new multi-party coalition called Barisan Nasional comprised of all those opposition parties that, in the election before this, had denied the ruling party its two-thirds majority in Parliament.

In terms of seats it was almost a clean sweep for Barisan Nasional as the opposition managed only 19 out of the 144 seats contested. Something must be wrong with the system when the opposition won only 13% of the seats though 40% of the rakyat voted for them. In this election the voter turnout was only 75.1%. Again, 600,000 people did not leave home.

The 1978 General Election was not any better and was almost a repeat of 1974. Only 75.3% of the voters came out to vote. The ruling government won 57.2% of the votes, but this time their number of seats won dropped to 130. The opposition managed to win 24 seats on the new enlarged total of 154 seats – a slightly better performance for the opposition.

The 1982 General Election was, again, a duplicate of the election before that - 74.39% voter turnout, 60.54% votes to the ruling party giving them 132 seats, and 22 seats to the opposition – almost status quo.

From there PAS seemed to be going downhill. The following General Election in 1986 was a disaster for PAS when they won only one seat and lost Kelantan to UMNO. Ironically, DAP saw its best ever by wining 24 seats. Barisan Nasional, who got 57.28% of the votes, won 148 seats or 84% out of the total of 177 seats. This was the turning point for both PAS and DAP – PAS its lowest point and DAP its highest.

One interesting point to note is that the voter turnout was the worst in the history of our General Elections as only 69.97% of the voters came out to vote. It was said the low voter turnout was one factor working against the opposition. More then 2 million people stayed home in that election.

1990 was the most interesting year. In the General Election held that year, the ruling party managed only 53.38% of the votes. Voter turnout was only slightly better at 72.7%. A "record" 2.2 million people stayed home and did not bother to come out and vote. Considering the ruling party managed only around 3 million votes and the opposition obtained 2.6 million votes, the 2.2 million voters who stayed home was quite significant. If 8% more people had come out to vote, and if they had voted for the opposition, the results would have been quite different. Of course, if they had voted for the ruling party instead, then it would not have mattered much.

Anyway, the DAP lost four seats and managed to retain only 20, PAS & Semangat 46 shared 15 seats between them, PBS in Sabah got 14 seats, while four independent candidates got in. Out of 180 seats contested, the ruling party still managed 127 seats or 70% - on slightly more than (only) HALF the votes they obtained. Again, this showed that, in Malaysian elections, it is SEATS AND NOT VOTES THAT MATTER.

During the 1995 Parliamentary General Election, PAS and Semangat 46 got one seat less each and, combined, they managed only 13 seats. DAP did quite badly at nine seats while PBS got only eight seats. There were nine million registered voters that year but, just like in 1990, more than two million people stayed home. The ruling party obtained 65.2% of the votes and won 162 out of the 192 seats contested giving them 85%.

They say 1990 was the high point for the opposition parties and their success can never be repeated. How then did the opposition parties fare in the 1999 General elections?

The 1999 Tenth General Elections

In Peninsular Malaysia, the Barisan Nasional (BN) won 102 out of 144 seats they contested. This gave the BN 70.8% of the seats, 4.2% more than what they needed to retain their two-thirds majority in Parliament. With the 46 seats they won in East Malaysia, the BN sailed in comfortably with 148 seats, 20 more seats than what is required to maintain this two-thirds majority and 52 more seats than what they need to form the government with a simple majority.

This could be viewed by many as quite an achievement for the BN who have never lost control of Parliament over the 43 years since Independence. Why then is the BN not in a jubilant or celebrative mood?

This is because they know that, though they came in with more than the two-thirds of the seats, they failed to win two-thirds of the votes. Out of a total of about 5.8 million voters in Peninsular Malaysia, BN managed to convince only 3.1 million voters to vote for them. This comes to less than 54% of the total voters who cast their votes – far short of the two-thirds they need to legitimately claim that the people support the BN.

Low Voter Turnout

What is most interesting to note though, only 73% of the voters came out to vote. Perak was the lowest at 66% followed by the Federal Capital at 70%. Why this low turnout?

Thousands of complaints were received that voters who had voted in that same area for the last few elections suddenly found their names missing from the list. Others complained that someone else had voted in their place – when they went to vote they found that their names had been "cut off" from the register (which means they had already voted). Then there were cases where voters’ names had been transferred to another state so they could not vote as there was no way they could make it across the country in time to vote.

It was estimated that around 80% to 82% of the registered voters would have come out to vote this time around - if they could have. This would have made it one of the highest ever in Malaysian election history. Many did come out but were sent home disappointed.

If these 7% to 9% had not been denied their right to vote, and if the 680,000 voters who had registered earlier but could not vote, were included in the voters’ list, an additional one million people would have voted in the 1999 General Election.

The Effect Of The Disenfranchised Voters

According to the Elections Commission, 95% of these 680,000 disenfranchised voters are below the age of 30. The Alternative Front or Barisan Alternatif (BA) claims that more than 70% of these people barred from voting are their supporters. If this were true, then the BN would have obtained 3.4 million votes while the BA 3.2 million. This would have changed the results drastically, probably even giving the BA an additional 30 to 40 Parliamentary seats. Looking at the wafer-thin wins the BN candidates obtained this assumption is more than possible.

BA officially won 42 of the Parliament seats contested. The BA claims the number would have been between 70 to 80, if the elections had been free and fair. All they needed was 65 seats to deny the BN their two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Opposition Shifted Into Malay Hands

For the first time in the history of this nation the opposition has shifted from the hands of the Chinese into the hands of the Malays. In the past, whenever one speaks of the opposition, one always means the Chinese. This is not surprising seeing that the bastion of the opposition has always been the urban areas or towns – which is where the majority of the non-Malays live. UMNO has always reigned supreme in the rural areas which prompted one ex-Deputy Prime Minister to say that, if UMNO wishes to retain its rule, it has to go back to the kampongs, the place where UMNO has its power base and where all the Malays live.

Today, it was the kampong people who rejected UMNO whereas the urbanites voted for the government instead.

It is estimated that 70% of the Malays voted opposition this time around. UMNO makes no bones about this when Mahathir classified the Malays as an emotional lot and praised the Chinese as being more pragmatic – meaning they would vote for the government (Mahathir’s idea of "being pragmatic"). You could see Mahathir openly wooing the Chinese with his China visit and the return visit of the Chinese leader in the run-up to the elections.

Did The Chinese Support The Government?

Did the Chinese really support the government and did they vote for Barisan Nasional out of love for the party? Many Chinese I spoke to say, "No!" Maybe some of them did vote BN, but they did so out of fear that the government would instigate racial riots if they lose their two-thirds majority just like they did 30 years before that in 1969.

The Chinese have a valid reason for believing so. In the two weeks of campaigning, Mahathir constantly reminded the Chinese of this "threat" that it left many older Chinese, who still remember the ravishes of May 13, extremely paranoid. Newspaper advertisements were full of these warnings and no speech was complete without a mention from Mahathir of the "threat of riots". The Chinese must have had sleepless nights and most would have been glad if there were no elections at all.

What Was "May 13" All About And Why Did It Frighten The Chinese So Much?

Contrary to what the (local) history books try to tell us, May 13 was NOT about Malay-Chinese rivalry. It may have eventually ended that way, but that definitely was not how it started out. May 13 was, basically, a Malay-Malay political struggle with May 13 used as a camouflage – and the Chinese know this (and the Chinese knew that 1999 can be a repeat of 1969 as the scenario was so similar).

To better understand May 13, we need to go back to the pre-Merdeka days to see how independence was achieved and how the first leaders of independent Malaya were groomed to take over running the country.

The British "Groomed" The Pre-Merdeka Malay Leaders

The British knew that at a certain point in time they would have to grant independence to Malaya. India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and many countries around this region had already gained independence from their colonial masters.

In 1946, the independence movement in Malaya had also started, giving birth to the first Malay political party, UMNO. It was a matter of time before the British would have to give-in to the demands of the Malays.

The British thought that the best way to grant independence to Malaya, yet still have some control over their old colony, would be to groom the leaders who would take over and educate them the British way so that they would soon become more English than the Englishman.

In the late 1940s, the British doors were thrown open to the Malays and the first batch of Malays was brought over to England to receive an English education. These were mostly the sons of the elite and royalty - Tengku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, and many more future leaders of Malaya.

Tengku Rahman was definitely given special treatment by the British to the extent he was the only student in history ever allowed to own a car at Cambridge - everyone else rode bicycles. Tengku drove a MG sports car and spent his years enjoying the lifestyle of the "rich and famous".

Eventually these young graduates of an English education were brought back to Malaya and given government posts as part of their training to one day take over the reins of power. Without saying, these English educated Malays enjoyed all the trappings of England including cricket, rugby, tea-at-four, brandy-after-dinner, and so on, not to mention a day at the races.

Merdeka was soon won and, in 1957, the local Malays took over running the country. But it was merely a changing of the skin colour - the management style remained the same. It was Merdeka without losing the English influence. In fact, as mentioned earlier, the Malays of that era acted more English than even the Englishmen themselves.

Turmoil In UMNO

Twelve years on and the "young Turks" in UMNO were getting restless and wanted a change of leadership. These young Turks, such as Hussein Onn and Mahathir Mohammad, had no sentimental attachments to the British, as they were educated in India and Singapore respectively. They were also angry that the Tengku preferred to surround himself with foreigners and Chinese businessman rather than Malays. Mahathir made this point very clear in his letter to Tengku, which goes as follows:

Mahathir’s Letter To The Tengku

"You have become so powerful, both by virtue of your office and by popular acclaim, that UMNO has become subservient to you. UMNO is being held together, not because the members share your ideas on politics, but through a system of patronage and disguised coercion based on Government rather than party authority.

A feeling of power normally grips those who wield patronage, a feeling that they can mould and shape people and opinions any way they please. The leaders of UMNO, the senior partners of the Alliance Government, have succumbed to this disease and, believing that they no longer need to heed the opinions of their supporters, they disregard them at every turn.

Laws have been hurriedly passed without prior consultation with the representatives who have had to "sell" these laws to the people. Tax innovations have been made and discarded with complete disregard for the disrupting effect on the public. In the main, Parliamentary sittings are regarded as a pleasant formality which afford members an opportunity to be heard and quoted, but which have absolutely no effect on the course of the Government. The sittings are a concession to a superfluous democratic practice. Off and on, this strength is used to change the constitution. The manner, the frequency, and the trivial reasons for altering the constitution have reduced this supreme law of the nation to a useless scrap of paper.

Your Ministers and the Cabinet are vested with this decision-making authority. It is obvious that only the most capable and experienced should be made Ministers and be in the Cabinet. But independent Malaysia has chosen to treat membership of the Cabinet as a reward for loyalty to party chiefs and acceptability to the Prime Minister. Once appointed, no amount of dereliction of duty could affect the position of a Minister. On the other hand, even if the Minister performs well, failure to remain on good terms with the Prime Minister means removal from the Ministry.

Your Government of mediocre people is bereft of ideas, is unable to understand the limits of their authority, and is generally unable to rule. All the while, however, your Government is busy on devices to perpetuate itself. These devices are so transparent and so lacking in subtlety that they achieve just the opposite effect.

May I remind you, Merdeka has brought power and wealth to the new Malay elite. Politics is found to be the panacea. It provides a shortcut to everything. It makes possible the attainment of positions of immense power. These Malays are in a position to acquire riches.

At first, this might seem grossly unfair. These few Malays - for they are still only a very few - have waxed riches not because of themselves, but because of the policy of a Government supported by a huge majority of poor Malays. It would seem that the efforts of the poor Malays have gone to enrich a select few of their own people. The poor Malays themselves have not gained one iota. With the existence of the few rich Malays, at least the poor Malays can say that their fate is not entirely to serve the rich non-Malays. From their point of view of racial ego, and this ego is still strong, the unseemly existence of Malay tycoons is essential.

The various races in Malaysia are differentiated not merely by ethnic origin, but also by many other characteristics. These characteristics are important. How these characteristics develop is another matter, but when races compete in a given field, these characteristics play an extremely important role. The Jews, for example are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.

The possession of these characteristics means little until different races come into contact with each other. Jewish stinginess and financial wizardry gained them the commercial control of Europe and provoked an anti-Semitism, which waxed and waned throughout Europe through the ages.

The first thing that comes to mind is that the vast majority of Malays are feudalistic and wish to remain so. A revolution, which starts off by preaching the destruction of the established monarchical order, will therefore fail. It will not win the support of the majority of orthodox Malays. In any case, the monarch has done no real harm to the Malays or to anyone else. The maintenance of the system is no doubt costly, but being separated from power, the ruler cannot constitute a tyranny. Besides, a Malaysia without rulers would mean the complete eclipse of the Malays. It is the rulers who have in the past furnished and continued to present the Malay character of Malaysia. Remove them, and the last vestige of traditional Malaysia would disappear. It is essential therefore that the monarchy remains.

To take on an adversary when it seems to be beyond one’s capacity is courageous. To calculate and assess one’s chances first is to exhibit cowardice. Time and again this inability or unwillingness to measure the odds against them has led to defeat and disaster for the Malays. The courageous or brave Malay is usually foolhardy, and because he is likely to do things without thinking of the consequences, the average Malay treats him with fear and respect. The ordinary man knows that it is not worthwhile to incur his displeasure and that it is safer to let him have his own way. The ordinary man therefore represents the other extreme when principle is easily set aside for the sake of safety.

Even feudalism can be beneficial if it facilitates changes. The political Rajas of today can, therefore, institute change if they themselves are willing to change. Such a change would spread rapidly. If the indications are that there should be a change in the value system and ethical code, then the leaders can lead the way with the certainty that they will be followed by the masses. In a feudal society, if the leaders fail, then there is little hope for the masses."

The Young Turks Make Their Move

The move to push Tengku Rahman aside had started. They needed something to trigger off some form of resentment to the government. They needed the Malays to rise, and what better platform than a racial platform?

Prior to that, 11 Chinese were sentenced to death for killing a Malay prison warden in Pudu Jail. The Chinese wanted the death sentence commuted and they held demonstrations in the Chinese dominated areas around Kuala Lumpur. The government had no choice but to back down, which angered the Malays.

Later the Chinese demonstrated in front of the USIS and one demonstrator was shot dead. The Chinese wanted a funeral procession but the police would not allow it as they knew it would attract a huge crowd and the funeral would be turned into a demonstration. Tun Razak, however, told the police to grant them permission and ordered the police off the streets. The resulting "giant" parade built up tensions further.

May 13 Explodes

The May 1969 General Elections were held soon after and the Alliance Party won only 40% of the votes resulting in them losing their two-thirds majority in Parliament. The opposition party held "victory parades" which turned into a mud-slinging and name-calling session. The Malays were now really angry and decided to hold their own victory parade. Dato Harun was given the task of managing this "event".

On May 13 the entire cabinet withdrew to Frazers Hill while the Malays prepared for trouble. People in the top echelons were tipped off to get out of town or go home early and by 3.00pm the city was quite deserted of the elite except for the unknowing rakyat.

Racial riots exploded. Parliament was dissolved, saving the Alliance government, and power was transferred to Tun Razak under the NOC. Tengku was now powerless.

The Tengku Loses His Grip

Mahathir increased his attacks on the Tengku. He also called for MCA’s expulsion from the Alliance to "punish" the Chinese. Instead, Mahathir was expelled from the party as these two newspaper reports show.

1. (Utusan Melayu and Utusan Malaysia of 6 June 1969)

KUALA LUMPUR 5 June – Some leading members of UMNO’s Supreme Council have voiced their support for the decision by MCA leadership to exclude themselves from the Cabinet. Among them are Tan Sri Syed Jaafar Albar, Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad and Syed Nasir bin Ismail.

In a meeting with Utusan Malaysia, Tan Sri Syed Jaafar emphasised his disapproval of efforts made to ask MCA to re-enter the Cabinet.

"I do not agree with the way some Chinese chambers of commerce have stated their confidence and support of Tun Tan Siew Sin and their asking him to reconsider MCA’s decision to withdraw from the Cabinet," he said.

According to him, the problem now was not the question of confidence towards Tun Tan Siew Sin as the MCA leader, but whether the Chinese supported the present policies of the Alliance.

"This is the matter that should be considered by these people who are making a big fuss about giving their support to Tun Tan Siew Sin today," he added.

Tan Sri Jaafar Albar also stated that the support given to Tun Tan Siew Sin by the Chinese Chambers of Commerce was not sufficient because support had to come from the majority of the Chinese population.

He stated that discussions about MCA’s inclusion in the Cabinet should not be confined to the newspapers or to MCA alone because UMNO, as the backbone of the Alliance party, had not decided yet if MCA and MIC should be included in the Cabinet or if the Alliance should remain as it was then.

He said: "It is not only the duty of MCA to discuss this matter as if it is its own peculiar problem, but it should be the responsibility of all the Alliance leaders from the UMNO, MCA, and MIC."

However, he did not want to give his final views before the party met to discuss the matter.

Mahathir, who supported Tan Sri Syed Jaafar’s statement, stressed that MCA leaders had to adhere to their earlier decision of not wanting to be included in the Cabinet.

He said that he agreed with the view of MCA leaders that they could not actually represent the people they claimed to represent.

According to Mahathir, the support given to Tun Tan Siew Sin by the Chinese chambers of commerce and other Chinese organisations could not be taken as support from the Chinese community as a whole to MCA because those organisations did not represent the desires of the Chinese community as a whole.

"If MCA wants to know whether they have the support of the Chinese, they have to wait for the next general election. Since this will take quite some time, it is no longer necessary for MCA to remain in the Cabinet," he emphasised.

Mahathir also said that MIC’s position in the Cabinet should also be reconsidered.

Syed Nasir stressed that on the whole, the relationship between UMNO, MCA and MIC had to be reviewed to take in the changes which had taken place after the general elections.

"The people have expressed their needs and desires, and there is little point in pretending that the policies of the Alliance party are the best acceptable to them," he said.

2. Press Statement Released by UMNO's Secretary General, Senu Abdul Rahman

"Mahathir Mohamad ceases to be a member of the UMNO Supreme Council with effect from today, 12 July 1969.

This decision was taken following the wide distribution to the public of Mahathir's letter to Tunku Abdul Rahman, President of UMNO Malaysia.

Letters containing important matters should first be discussed by UMNO's Supreme Council, especially in view of the present situation in the country.

The action taken by Mahathir is seen to be in breach of the party's etiquette and is capable of damaging party solidarity and the government which the party supports."

Mahathir Letter To The Tengku Dated 17th June 1969

"Your opinions were based on stories you heard from people who surround you, and who tell you only what they think you like to hear or should hear. Permit me to tell you what the position, the thoughts and the opinions of the people are really, so that you can understand my motive for making that press statement.

You yourself told me that you have prevented a riot by commuting the death sentence of the 11 subversive Chinese. In truth this very action sparked the riots of 13 May, which resulted in the deaths of many, many more.

Your ‘give and take’ policy gives the Chinese everything they ask for. The climax was the commuting of the death sentence, which made the majority of the Malays angry. The Chinese on the other hand regarded you and the Alliance government as cowards and weaklings who could be pushed around.

That was why the Chinese and the Indians behaved outrageously toward the Malays on 12th May. If you had been spit in the face, called dirty names and shown obscene gestures and private parts, then you could understand how the Malays felt. The Malays whom you thought would never rebel went berserk, and they hate you for giving too much face. The responsibility of the deaths of these people, Muslim or Infidels, rests on the shoulders of the leader who holds views based on wrong assumptions.

I regret writing this letter, but I have to convey to you the feelings of the Malays. In truth the Malays whether they are UMNO or PMIP supporters really hate you, especially those who had lost homes, children and relatives, because of your ‘give and take’ policy.

They said you wanted to be known only as ‘The Happy Prime Minister’ even though others are suffering. They said that although the country was in a state of emergency you were engrossed playing poker with your Chinese friends. Even the policemen said that you were using official cars and police escorts to contact your poker gang.

Lately, another disturbing factor came to light. The Malays in the Civil Service, from Permanent Secretary downwards, Army Officers and the Malays in the Police Force have lost faith and respect for you. I know that the majority of them voted for the PMIP through mail ballots....

I wish to convey what the people really think, that is that it is high time you resign as our Prime Minister and UMNO leader.

I am fully aware of the powers you still hold and I remember too well the fate of AZIZ ISHAK. But I would be irresponsible if I do not explain what I have said earlier. Even if I am jailed, I have to say what I have already said.

Once more I wish to repeat that the statement I made [on the continued exclusion of the MCA from the Cabinet] is to prevent the Malays from hating the Government more and to stop the Chinese from abusing the dignity of the Malays. A bigger riot will occur if this is allowed. The military itself will be beyond control.

I pray to God it will open your heart to accept the truth bitter though it may be."

The Tengku Steps Aside

Soon after Tengku stepped aside and Tun Razak took over as Prime Minister. The opposition parties were invited to join the government and the Alliance gave way to the Barisan Nasional giving the government back their two-thirds majority in Parliament. Later PAS left the BN to stay on as an opposition party.

The Chinese Fear – ANOTHER "May 13"

The Chinese remember very well this bloody incident of 31 years ago and their main fear is that history would repeat itself if the government loses its two-thirds majority in Parliament and that retaliation in the form of racial riots would follow. That’s why the Chinese did not dare vote for the opposition in the Tenth General Election in 1999. And that is how the BN will continue to perpetuate its rule, even if support from the Malay voters has declined. And that is why we cannot hope for change through the ballot box.

And we have not even touched on the rampant cheating done by the BN in ensuring they win the elections "by hook or by crook", which makes it practically impossible for the opposition to make any headway in Malaysian General Elections.

The Bottom Line Is...........

Without further going into lengthy details, THE BOTTOM LINE IS........... Malaysian elections are not free and fair. The odds are stacked against the opposition. The government has massive propaganda machinery at its disposal, which includes the mainstream media, the government departments, and the Information Department. On top of that the government only needs to win 50% of the votes to retain its two-thirds majority in Parliament. For the government to just retain a simple majority (even without a two-thirds majority) requires a mere 40% of the votes. Ten General Elections over 41 years has proven this – as the analysis above has shown.

This mean the BN can practically rule forever – and Anwar Ibrahim will therefore be in jail forever - unless the International community joins the FreeAnwar Campaign in lobbying for his release from jail.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

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