Saturday, 4 May 2013

Anwar’s politicization of ‘fraud’

There is no doubt that social-media commentators will not take kindly to the message of this article. Regardless of our political persuasions, those in the electorate should not abandon objectivity when assessing the claims of political orators on both sides of the divide. According to recent polling evaluations conducted by the Merdeka Center, the country is nearly spilt down the middle with respect to May 5th’s decision; the result is too close to call for anyone to make a definitive conclusion. Therefore, some would call Anwar Ibrahim’s recent assertion that only 'massive fraud' would prevent his victory, to be deeply disingenuous and politically irresponsible. This statement presupposes that any election result that yields anything other than Anwar’s victory is: invalid, illegitimate, and fraud. This and other statements made by the opposition leader alienate anyone who votes for Barisan Nasional (nearly half the country, according to independent polls).

For a man who has spoken at length to foreign press about turning Malaysian into a ‘mature democracy’, such a scathing statement utterly fails to communicate these aspirations by demonstrating his willingness to politicize hearsay and disregard polls that claim Barisan has about the same level of support that he enjoys. Anwar and the Pakatan have built their campaign upon the perception that the electoral system is rigged in favor of the incumbent, and in doing that, speculation on opposition news portals has become unquestionable truth for many who get their news through social media. Momentary hysteria ensued following recent allegations that the Electoral Commissions’ indelible ink can be washed off, which was used allege that BN would cheat its way into power by allowing people to submit multiple ballots. This was shortly after debunked by the EC in front of reporters, proving that the indelible ink could not be removed from ones finger despite washing several times using various chemicals and solutions. In the context of surfacing reports that the ink is easily washed off, the EC has previously laid the blame on polling officers for not shaking the ink bottles properly before applying them to the voters.

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Nile Bowie is a Malaysia-based political analyst and a columnist with Russia Today. He also contributes to PressTV, Global Research, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at