Malaysian opposition asks for Australia's assistance in GE13 | Asia Pacific

Malaysian opposition asks for Australia's assistance in GE13

Malaysian opposition asks for Australia's assistance in GE13

Updated 21 November 2012, 21:09 AEST

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

Datuk Seri Anwar says Australia regularly calls for countries to conduct free and fair elections, and that call should be made too, to Malaysia's ruling party UMNO.

This, at a time when Australia is seeking Malaysia's help in processing asylum seeker arrivals.

A Malaysian election is due to be held by next April, amid much speculation it might be held this year.

Mr Anwar said he feared the outcome of the election won't reflect to the will of the Malaysia people, due to cheating.

Correspondent: Tony Eastley

Speaker: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysian Opposition leader

ANWAR: We have produced and submitted specific evidence based on the electoral role 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.

Yesterday the election commission in a private discussion with the members of parliament admitted they were at fault.

EASTLEY: These voter inconsistencies you mention - false names, underage voters and ghost voters - who is behind this alleged rigging?

ANWAR: Well 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.

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

EASTLEY: Why do you think the election commission is operating and doing what it is?

ANWAR: Well they are political appointees and they are, 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.

EASTLEY: What can Australia do to ensure a free and fair election?

ANWAR: Well 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, fair elections in Malaysia?

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?

EASTLEY: Why do you think that is?

ANWAR: (Laughs) I'm not probing the immigration or (inaudible) subject. But…

EASTLEY: You are no doubt aware that Australia is or has been negotiating with Malaysia over a regional asylum seeker policy. Relations are at a tense or critical point aren't they?

ANWAR: Yeah, yeah. And my explanation in my full conversations with Minister Bob Carr I say look, why do we raise? Because the only explanation given by the minister of home affairs in this country is we are in the midst of finalising an agreement. And nothing - no detail, information or agreement has been given to Malaysians. I mean, so I say we have every reason to question this regimen.

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