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‘Malaysian Tsunami’ Protests Election Irregularities

Tens of thousands in Malaysia gathered in Kelana Jaya stadium near the country’s capital on May 8, 2013 to protest the final vote tally of the 13th General Elections. The Opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat won 51 percent of the popular votes but it only got 89 seats against the 133 seats of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN).

Because of its victory, BN is now the ‘world’s longest-ruling elected coalition’ which first came to power in the 1950s. However, it suffered its worst defeat since 1969.

News reports estimated the crowd inside Kelana Jaya stadium to be around 50,000 to 60,000. However, Malaysiakini reported that more than 120,000 people joined the protest, including those who couldn’t enter the stadium:

Including those caught in traffic jams all around Petaling Jaya, the crowd is estimated at 120,000 – making it one of the biggest rallies in recent times

Despite the drizzle, the crowd is still trickling into the stadium. Cars have been parked as far as 2km away and the party doesn't seem to end anytime soon for supporters.

Tens of thousands gather in Malaysia to protest the results of the General Elections. Photo by Ramon Fadli, Copyright @Demotix (5/8/2013)

Tens of thousands gather in Malaysia to protest the results of the General Elections. Photo by Ramon Fadli, Copyright @Demotix (5/8/2013)

This is what Genevieve Nunis observed in the event:

The stadium was filled with Malaysians who disagreed with the results on the 13th General Election, and they made sure the leaders understood them by shouting ‘Reformasi’ (reformation) and ‘Ubah’ (change). The crowd, all dressed in black rallied for a free and fair elections

This is truly the act of patriotism. These are Malaysians who do in fact love their country and yearn for a brighter future in Malaysia. Could it be an overwhelming feeling? It just might, but the beautiful part about it all is that everyone is putting their differences aside, and fighting together for their country as one.

A protester holds up an "anonymous" mask during an opposition coalition rally. Photo by Hafzi Mohamed, Copyright @Demotix (5/8/2013)

A protester holds up an “anonymous” mask during an opposition coalition rally. Photo by Hafzi Mohamed, Copyright @Demotix (5/8/2013)

Twitter hashtags #black505 and #kelanajaya were used to document and share updates about the protest. Here are some related tweets:

@JustinTWJ I may not be physically at Kelana Jaya stadium now but my heart and mind is there. #black505

@AD___AM Look at all the irrelevant and ungrateful people who showed up at Kelana Jaya yesterday.

@critic4good The #black505 rally ended, but the spirit to fight for a better Malaysia still growing strong. You guys are awesome!

@sueannajoe I see people of all races walking by wearing black in unison. I see unity, I see hope, I see love for the nation. #black505

@Supernoves Was overwhelmed and proud of the turnout at #kelanajaya stadium last night. Our voice can never be silenced anymore. That's how it should be

The government warned that some of the speakers in the rally could be charged for sedition. The Opposition announced that more rallies will take place in the coming days.

These two videos uploaded on YouTube show the crowd which assembled in the stadium:

Terence Netto cited the 1986 People Power in the Philippines when Filipinos marched in the streets and soldiers mutinied in protest to the election fraud committed by the administration:

It is hoped there will be no need of the intervention of personnel in the uniformed units here to assist one side or the other in the dramas to come over the widespread suspicion that the results of GE13 are tainted beyond repair.

Prime Minister Najib Razak attributed the surge in votes for the Opposition to the support given by Chinese voters. He called it the “Chinese Tsunami’. A letter writer named Disappointed Citizen criticized Najib:

Our dear prime minister made a comment about the Chinese voting community which broke my heart…I felt that it was rather insensitive of him.

And now to refer to a portion of the people as a “tsunami” that may be dangerous for the nation simply because they voted for the opposition seems to me to be a rather petty and immature tactic.

But was Najib correct in his analysis? Scholars insist that what caused the loss of votes for the administration was the overwhelming support of urban voters to the Opposition. Some call it ‘urban tsunami’ or ‘Malay tsunami’.

Gertrude Pereira lists some election reforms that need to be undertaken:

If it is serious about reconciliation and healing, then be magnanimous. Clean up the electoral roll, reform postal balloting, provide free and fair access to the media, clearly indicate that the next elections will be on a level playing field and call for GE14 earlier rather than later. And keep it clean.

Ramesh Rajaratnam argues that it’s the election system that is deeply flawed:

Without a concerted effort from our MPs to make our country fairer by insisting on equitable representation in Parliament, it will indeed be very difficult for Najib to ask for national reconciliation when the very premise of his assertion was fundamentally flawed.

If you don't know what's broken, how can you fix it?

Dr. Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied heralds the rise of a new breed of Malay voters:

GE13 has laid bare the end of money politics and made it plainly obvious that the days of old school racial politics are numbered. The new breed of Malays have their eyes now set on cosmopolitan leaders, regardless of which party they are from, leaders whose forebears have had Malay interests in mind and, above and beyond that, the interests of all Malaysians at heart.

Just Read! is against the decision of the Opposition to organize a protest rally:

Whether there were flaws or not during the just concluded 13th general election, it was a good start to a ‘clean and free’ election in the country; and with due respect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, please accept the decision of the voters!

Be a true gentleman, be a good Opposition Leader and take your team on the right and proper function as a constructive opposition rather than mocking at each and very policy the government introduced.

tunku also thinks the same about the Opposition leader:

He may not be good at winning elections, but Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is very good at whipping up his crowds of supporters and trying to persuade the world that he is a victim of injustice

Through the hashtag #mywant, some Malaysians called for national unity and harmony:

@jazlinhussin #mywant is for Malaysians to stop asking for re-election. It was fair so deal with it. Lets build a better Malaysia.

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