Malaysia's Anwar calls for Australia to help in election

Malaysia's Anwar calls for Australia to help in election

Malaysia's Anwar calls for Australia to help in election

Updated 21 November 2012, 12:24 AEDT

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is so worried about corruption in the next general election, he has passed a handwritten note to Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr asking for help.

Mr Anwar, a former deputy prime minister to Dr Mahathir in the 1990s, says he has uncovered evidence and produced it in parliament which reveals fake voter registrations and other anomalies.

The poll is due to be held sometime next year but there is widespread speculation the government will go early.

AM's Tony Eastley spoke by telephone to Mr Anwar in Kuala Lumpur last night and asked him what evidence he had to support his concerns of vote rigging.

"We have produced and submitted specific evidence based on the electoral roll prepared by the election commission, where we showed a few hundred thousand people who are ineligible to vote, not allowed to vote, or some who are not eligible, who are 12 years old or two years old, in the electoral list," he said.

Mr Anwar said the election commission admitted it was at fault during a private discussion with members of parliament yesterday.

"The election commission is supposed to be independent. But right now of course they, in their statement, in their public announcement, seem to represent the ruling UMNO party," he said.

"But one of the other major demands - there's not one minute of access to the mainstream media. So how [does the] election commission consider this fair elections when the opposition has been denied even one minute of air time?

Mr Anwar has questioned the independence of the members of the election commission.

"They are political appointees and, many of them, we have actually produced evidence they're even card-carrying members of the ruling party, which runs contrary to the requirements of the law of the commission," he said.

Mr Anwar has called on Australia to help ensure a corruption-free election.

"In my note to Minister Bob Carr and my discussions earlier with Kevin Rudd I said look, you talk about free elections in Afghanistan and Iraq - why are we rather muted when it comes to free elections in Malaysia?" he said.

"I'm not asking you to intervene beyond that. Why are you now talking about the need for free elections in Burma and not saying anything about neighbouring countries?"

Senator Carr has told The World Today he received Mr Anwar's letter on Monday but there is not much Australia can do.

"The Malaysian elections are a matter for the Malaysian people. It's very hard for Australia to do anything about how they're run, as hard as it would be for Malaysia or another government to have a say in how Australian elections are run," he said.

"We're not the election authority for Malaysia."

Senator Carr says Mr Anwar also raised the issue with him during his recent visit to Malaysia. 

"I heard him express concerns and in the letter he underlines them by making accusations of fraudulent registration processes and raising concerns that the election can reflect popular will. We can't comment on that," he said.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has also raised serious questions about the integrity of the Malaysian electoral system and says Australia must urgently send election observers to Malaysia.

Senator Xenophon has told the Senate he has heard grave concerns about the vilification of candidates, gerrymandering, and fraud.

He says Australia needs to become involved and consider offering the expertise of the Australian Electoral Commission.

"Our great historical and enduring friendship and bond with Malaysia demands that Australian take a leadership role at this historic juncture, specifically Australia should send a parliamentary delegation to observe the preparations for the election as a matter of urgency, not in coming months but in coming weeks," he said.

Senator Carr says the only way a parliamentary delegation would be sent to Malaysia is through an official request.

"The only way that can happen is for the government of Malaysia to ask for assistance, and then we'd respond," he said.