After the official announcement of Anwar Ibrahim’s victory, Najib was quoted saying “This is his political base and the results reflected that there was no manipulation involved” in the NST article (27/08) entitled Najib: Voters have spoken. As expected, this would be the rhetoric of the ruling coalition if Anwar wins a bigger majority compared to his wife, Wan Azizah, in the March 8 elections (13388). It was speculated also that if Anwar were to win by a smaller majority, the ruling coalition would’ve declared it a victory of sort. However, Najib’s statement that ‘there was no manipulation involved’ certainly contradicts the findings and reports submitted to MAFREL throughout the campaigning period. On the eve of polling day, MAFREL sounded the alarm “that the forces against free and fair elections will be expected to try their best to undermine the credibility of the election –together with the people’s choice, up to the last minute of polling and announcement of result.” The red alert was further reinforced yesterday with the arrest of 4 PKR members who stopped the buses alleged to be carrying phantom voters (instead of arresting the phantom voters), ‘dead voter’ turning up at the polling station, and missing names from the updated roll. Therefore, it would’ve been more accurate to say that the PKR candidate, Anwar Ibrahim, won with a bigger majority despite the manipulation and irregularities involved.
The arrest of MP Gobalakrishnan and 3 others from PKR was also reported in NST today, MP and two sons detained. Again, it is unfortunate that the mainstream newspaper did not paint an accurate picture of the events leading to the arrest. It was not mentioned that MP Gobalakrishnan’s 2 sons were handcuffed upon arrival at the police station with the lame and unacceptable excuse of assisting them in the investigation of stopping the buses. It was also not mentioned that MP Gobalakrishnan was assaulted by the FRU and later admitted to the hospital because he protested to the handcuffing of his 2 sons. The focus of the reporting seemed to have shifted from the alleged phantom voters (what did the police do?) to the ‘tense situation’ created by the PKR members. Refer to our earlier post to get a better picture of the episode.
One other discrepancy spotted is Ariff Shah’s attributing BN’s loss to the low turnout of 65% – Arif says low turnout contributes to BN loss. It could be a genuine mistake on Ariff’s part to continue to rely on his party’s own projection of the voters turnout at 65% when the official turnout was reported to be at 81.01% (also reported by theSun here). But such postmortem on Ariff’s part must be essentially flawed – the turnout was almost similar to the March 8 GE therefore suggesting that the loss of BN could be due to factors other than the low turnout. Even if the turnout was actually low, it would’ve been an unsubstantiated assumption to say that those who didn’t vote would’ve voted for BN.