The Star Online|Malaysia 13th General Election

Indonesia's Prabowo says quitting presidential election process

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto said Tuesday he was withdrawing from the election process, as his opponent Joko Widodo was poised to be declared the winner.

Diffusing hostilities through reasonable discourse

THE recent warning by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of a bloody incident if racial tension is left unchecked deeply troubled me as the statement was coming from someone very senior in the Federal Government.

Language skills a must for GE14

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA candidates in the next general election must have good command of languages and be proficient in two or three of them – Malay, English and Mandarin. “Besides, they must have a clean background and display good conduct,” said party president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai. This, he added, was part of a mechanism on the selection of candidates under the party’s transformation plan. Asked to elaborate, Liow said the guidelines were contained in the book on the transformation plan. Among others, the guidelines listed that the candidates for state seats must have a minimum academic qualification of secondary school while potential Members of Parliament are required to hold a degree or above. MCA candidates, said Liow, would also be chosen through internal and public surveys to ensure that the party representatives deliver their best service to the people. The surveys would also help the party pick the most suitable candidates, who would be widely accepted by the voters, Liow told reporters after attending the “roof covering” ceremony of the MCA building for the Kepong division and Jinjang Utara branch here yesterday. The party, he said, would start preparing its groundwork for the next polls two years after a general election was held. “I have instructed all branches and divisions to start identifying the candidates for the next general election,” he said, adding that the early selection of candidates would enable those hopeful to hit the ground and familiarise themselves with their job scope and local issues in advance. During the Kajang by-election, the MCA candidate was chosen based on these criteria as well as after a survey showing Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun – who holds a Master’s degree in Chinese studies – as coming up top among the list of potential names. Although the MCA vice-president eventually lost to PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the polls in March, she successfully reduced the vote majority and garnered more support from the Chinese community. Liow said the party’s GE14 preparatory committee, chaired by secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, had identified the modules and details for preparation for the next polls. “We are starting to move on the ground to make sure that MCA is fully prepared to recover from our bad performance in the last elections,” he said.

Dr Wee: MCA to identify new talents, possible candidates for next GE

KERIAN: MCA is in the process of identifying new talents and possible candidates for all constituencies as they prepare for the 14th general election.

Going for positive changes

PONTIAN: MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong has likened the DAP to a “satay party” because for their love to “cucuk” (poke) and “bakar” (burn) issues for their own benefit.

HK chief: Poll has no legal standing

HONG KONG: Chief Secretary Carrie Lam says that the poll organised by the “Occupy Central” campaign has no legal standing.

I was ordered to delete video of Major Zaidi's statement, says RMAF man

KUALA LUMPUR: The court-martial of Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Major Zaidi Ahmad, who had made media statements regarding the ineffectiveness of the indelible ink used during GE13, heard Wednesday that Air Force personnel were ordered to delete videos of his press conference on the issue.

Court martial of RMAF officer to continue with amended charges

KUALA LUMPUR: The court-martial of Royal Malaysian Air Force's Major Zaidi Ahmad, who had made media statements regarding the indelible ink used during GE13, will proceed on Wednesday despite objections raised by his defence over amendments made to five charges.

PKR polls: Objection panel chairman lashes out at ‘power hungry’ leaders

PETALING JAYA: PKR election objection panel chairman Malek Hussin has vented his frustration on Twitter over the attitude of certain party leaders involved in the ongoing disciplinary hearings.

Ferry disaster clouds key vote for Seoul mayor

SEOUL, May 29, 2014 (AFP) - South Korea's ferry disaster has cast a heavy shadow over upcoming local elections, especially the key race for Seoul mayor - a high-profile post seen as a possible springboard for the presidency.

DAP urged to explain

JOHOR BARU: MCA public services and complaints bureau chairman Jason Teoh is urging for DAP and the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to provide an explanation on allegations that an ex-party member was invited and allowed to vote during the last party central executive committee (CEC) elections.

Consultant in ballot box case freed

KAJANG: A real estate consultant was acquitted by a magistrate’s court here over the charge of locking two ballot boxes used for the 13th general election with her own padlocks. Magistrate Abdul Jalil Salam Muhamad ruled that the prosecution has failed to establish a prima facie case against Susan Lee Pek Sim, who was then a polling agent for a DAP candidate. “Therefore, the accused is discharged and acquitted,” he ruled after hearing evidence from eight prosecution witnesses. Lee, 55, was alleged to have committed the offence at the army hall of Squadron 21 of the Royal Engineers Army Regiment (Territorial Army) in Kajang Utama at 7.15pm on April 30 last year. The offence carries a jail term of up to two years or a maximum fine of RM5,000 or both under Section 3(1)(i) of the Election Offences Act 1954. Speaking to reporters, Lee’s lead counsel Edmund Bon said they welcomed the decision because his client did not commit any offence. “In fact, she was only a polling and counting agent for DAP Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming,” he said. Bon said the evidence had shown that the results for the Ser­dang parliamentary and Bangi state constituency seats were correct. “There is no doubt about the results,” he said, adding that Lee was happy over her acquittal as she had merely carried out her duties as the polling agent according to the Election Rules. Lawyer New Sin Yew also appeared for Lee while DPP Mohd Azari Harun and DPP Siaw Chooi Chin acted for the prosecution. Lee, who claimed trial on May 3 last year, was released on a RM2,500 bail pending the disposal of the case. Dr Ong, who is a political analyst, won the Serdang parliamentary seat with a majority of 42,206 votes in a straight fight with Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Yap Pian Hon.

Real estate consultant did not break election laws, court rules

KAJANG: A real estate consultant was acquitted by a magistrate's court here on Monday over the charge of locking two ballot boxes used for the 13th general election with her own padlocks.

'New era' for India after landslide victory for Modi

NEW DELHI, May 16, 2014 (AFP) - India's triumphant Hindu nationalists declared "the start of a new era" in the world's biggest democracy Friday as the ruling Congress conceded defeat in elections that exposed anger about sickly economic growth and rampant corruption.

Counting begins in India's general election

NEW DELHI:  Counting began Friday in India's mammoth general election with results later in the day expected to show a crushing victory for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi.

PKR polls: Manikavasagam claims he hasn’t been informed of suspension

SHAH ALAM: PKR’s S. Manikavasagam (pic) says he is unsure if he has been suspended by the party as he has yet to be formally informed.

Special Report: In Modi's India, a case of rule and divide

AHMEDABAD India (Reuters) - Ali Husain is a prosperous young Indian Muslim businessman. He recently bought a Mercedes and lives in a suburban-style gated community that itself sits inside a ghetto.In Gujarat, it is so difficult for Muslims to buy property in areas dominated by Hindus even the community's fast-growing urban middle class is confined to cramped and decrepit corners of cities. Husain embodies the paradox of Gujarat: the state's pro-business leadership has created opportunities for entrepreneurs of all creeds; yet religious prejudice and segregation are deeply, and even legally, engrained. If a Muslim enquires about a property in a new development, often the response is: "Why are you even asking?" said Husain, speaking at his home in the Muslim neighbourhood of Juhapura, where filthy slum streets rub against smart new apartment blocks and enclaves.Separation of communities is common across India. Nowhere is it as systematised as it has become in Gujarat.That matters because the state's chief minister, Narendra Modi, could soon run the country. Exit polls show that when results of a general election are announced on May 16, Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies will win a majority in parliament, almost certainly making him India’s next prime minister.The 63-year-old Hindu nationalist has ruled the western state of Gujarat since 2001. He has surrounded himself with technocrats - and also ministers and advisers who promote "Hindutva", a belief in the supremacy of Hinduism. As prime minister, Modi would lead not just 975 million Hindus but 175 million Muslims, around 15 percent of India's population and the third-largest Muslim population in the world.Modi's record in his home state is clouded by riots in 2002, when 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in a frenzy of mob violence. Modi still struggles to shake off the perception he did not do enough to stop the bloodshed, despite a Supreme Court investigation that found no case against him and his own insistence he did all he could to keep the peace.Even some Hindus connect Modi to the riots. Pradeep Shukla, a prominent Hindu businessman and former member of the BJP in the Gujarati town of Bhavnagar said Hindus "believe that, somewhere, indirectly, Modi had a hand in it because he supports Hindus. This is why they vote for him." On the campaign trail, Modi has tried to project a moderate image with a platform that downplays hot-button Hindu issues and emphasises growth and "development for all".But in Gujarat's neighbourhoods and cities, people tell a different story. HISTORY SCARRED BY VIOLENCEHusain is one of roughly 400,000 people living in Juhapura, a teeming Muslim township within Ahmedabad, Gujarat's largest city. Many of them moved there after the 2002 riots. Local Hindus jokingly refer to it as "Little Pakistan". India's history is scarred by episodes of horrific Hindu-Muslim violence. At least 200,000 people were killed in the months after the country was divided into India and Pakistan at independence from Britain in 1947. The destruction of an ancient mosque in 1992 by Hindu zealots in Ayodhya triggered religious rioting across India. Modi visited the northern town on May 5, repeatedly invoking the name of the Hindu deity Ram.Memories of the 2002 rioting have not faded for the many residents of Juhapura who lost relatives, homes and businesses. And its legacy has been increasing segregation.In particular, a property law unique to Gujarat has perpetuated segregation, creating ghettos such as Juhapura and a sense of apartheid in some urban areas.    The "Disturbed Areas Act", a law that restricts Muslims and Hindus from selling property to each other in "sensitive" areas, was introduced in 1991 to avert an exodus or distress sales in neighbourhoods hit by inter-religious unrest.Modi's government amended the law in 2009 to give local officials greater power to decide on property sales. It also extended the reach of the law, most recently in 2013 - 11 years after the last major religious riots.The state government says the law is meant to protect Muslims, who account for just under 10 percent of the state's 60 million people. "It prevents ethnic cleansing and people being forced out," a senior government official who requested anonymity told Reuters.Critics say the act's continued enforcement and the addition of new districts covered by it - about 40 percent of Ahmedabad is now governed by the law - means it is effectively being applied as a tool of social engineering.The Gujarat High Court in a 2012 case questioned the state government’s use of the act to block the sale of properties by Hindus to Muslims.The Indian Express newspaper said in a recent editorial: "More Muslims and Hindus have moved into separate spaces in Gujarat, finding trust and assurance only among neighbours of their own community, and it has ended up entrenching segregation and shutting Muslims out of the mainstream." "SPIT ON HIM"Among those pressing hardest for the law to be maintained and extended to other parts of Gujarat are Hindu nationalists, such as Pravin Togadia.One evening in April, Togadia sat before a crowd of neighbours in a tranquil residential street of Bhavnagar, an otherwise bustling town three hours drive from Ahmedabad. To bursts of applause, he railed against a Muslim scrap dealer, Ali Asghar Zaveri, who had dared to purchase a property there.    His forehead smeared with vermillion, a mark of piety, Togadia told his audience they should break open their new neighbour's padlocked gates and take over the two houses behind them before Zaveri could get a chance to move in.    "When he comes out onto the street, you should spit on him," he told the gathering. "Get 10-15 children to stand around and ... throw tomatoes at him."Togadia added that if Zaveri did not give up the property, which he reportedly bought for $250,000, they should go in their thousands to his scrap shop and surround it.    "Take stones with you, burn tyres," he said, according to a video of the meeting, which concluded with women in the crowd of around 100 people chanting a Hindu hymn.    The video was posted on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zatIRhuiuuY). Local police, who acquired a copy, have filed a case of "hate speech" against Togadia.     Togadia is president of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a pugnacious group in a family of Hindu nationalist organisations that includes Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Togadia did not respond to questions from Reuters. According to local media reports, he said news articles about the incident were "fabricated and written with malicious intention to malign" both him and his organisation.    Modi did not comment directly on the VHP leader's outburst. But in a tweet widely interpreted as condemnation, he said he disapproved of "petty statements by those claiming to be the BJP's well-wishers".Modi was not available to comment for this story. ESCALATING PROPERTY PRICESBhavnagar is not covered by the Disturbed Areas Act. But in one district of the town, Hindus have effectively imposed it, raising a banner at the entry to a narrow lane that reads: "In this area, locality or by-lane no property or building can be sold or rented to people who are not of this religion."Reuters interviewed two local VHP leaders who said they have made repeated requests since 2004 for Bhavnagar to be put under the Disturbed Areas Act.    One of the two, S.D. Jani, said Hindus object to Muslims living among them because they are not vegetarian and many have committed acts of terrorism abroad. His colleague, Kirit Mistry, complained that Muslims slaughter cows, which are sacred to Hindus, and that the Muslim population is growing faster than Hindus because they have more children.Several Hindus who declined to be named for this story said if Muslims buy property in their areas, the value of their own homes falls. One said the stigma of living alongside Muslims can make it difficult for Hindus to marry off their daughters.One consequence of the segregation: land and home prices in Juhapura and other Muslim areas have escalated more than in Hindu areas as the community finds its ability to expand and build more properties limited. “Prices have increased so much because the expansion of Juhapura has been contained, not only by walls but also by the building of Hindu colonies ...at the periphery of the locality,” Christophe Jaffrelot, a scholar with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote in a recent column in the Indian Express.MUSLIMS FOR MODIAt the same time, some Muslims in Gujarat have been lifted on a tide of rising prosperity. The state has long been a model of economic success in India given its coastal location, large ports and industrialisation. According to National Survey Sample Office figures, for instance, Gujarat is one of the top Indian states for Muslim employment. The national unemployment rate among Muslims was almost double that of Gujarati Muslims in 2009-10.  But the picture is far from clear. Data from the same source showed nearly one in three Gujarati Hindus had a secondary education or higher in 2009-10, against one in five for Muslims - roughly in line with the average for Muslims across the country.    Zafar Sareshwala is among those who have prospered. One of Gujarat's wealthiest Muslims, he owns a chain of BMW showrooms. Sareshwala supports Modi even though his family was financially ruined by the 2002 unrest. His view changed overnight the following year, he said, after a meeting with Modi.    "He was deeply anguished. He was apologetic about the scale of the damage," Sareshwala recalled. "Modi promised justice would be delivered and said he would never discriminate against Muslims."    Sareshwala estimated that 30 percent of Gujarat's Muslims now back the BJP thanks to urban development and access to services that Modi has brought. Opinion polls have not projected the Muslim vote in Gujarat.     "People call him a dictator, I call him decisive," he said.Even much poorer Muslims back Modi. In a dirt-poor Ahmedabad riverside slum of about 150 families, most of them Muslim, five of eight women who spoke with Reuters said they had voted for the BJP, even though Modi's government bulldozed their rickety homes two years ago, forcing them to rebuild away from the waterfront.    "Modi has done some good work. Our children can get scholarships and school meals. Women feel protected, and widows get compensation," said 48-year-old Shabnam Banu, sitting on the floor with her friends in a simple room where a slow-moving ceiling fan did little to alleviate the pre-monsoon heat.    Still, Banu herself couldn't bring herself to vote for Modi, selecting the "none of the above" option on election day.     "Our main fear is he will throw us out of the country," she said. "What if some of his people come and attack us?"  PEOPLE ARE AFRAIDIn Juhapura, businessman Ali Husain has made it his mission to break down barriers between the state's communities. Two years ago he persuaded a major developer to sell homes to Muslims in luxury townships on the edge of Ahmedabad, and he is now working with a Hindu company to produce Halal food.    Other initiatives have flopped. In February, Husain organised a Hindu-Muslim business conclave, sponsored by the state government and addressed by Modi. Few Muslims turned up. "Truly speaking, the Muslims, they are not with Modi," he said.Husain has bought a house in a Hindu area of Ahmedabad, and wants to move out of Juhapura. But his parents are too scared to leave. He is too nervous to even take the sheet off his Mercedes because neighbours might think, after his recent meeting with Modi, he has sold out for money.    "I encourage Muslims to come out of Muslim areas and live everywhere, to end ghettoisation," Husain said. "But ... people are afraid that if they come out the violence could happen again." (Additional reporting by Aditi Shah in BHAVNAGAR, VADODARA and AHMEDABAD, India and by Himanshu Ojha in LONDON; Editing by Simon Robinson and Bill Tarrant)

India's Rahul Gandhi defends seat in marathon election

NEW DELHI, May 6, 2014 (AFP) - Rahul Gandhi, scion of India's political dynasty and frontman for the ruling Congress party, defends his own parliamentary seat on Wednesday as the world's biggest general election enters its final stages.

What's in a name? Dummy candidates confuse Indian voters

NEW DELHI, May 2, 2014 (AFP) - Indian politician Chandulal Sahu, standing for the second time for a seat in parliament, was irritated but not surprised when he saw he was running against seven competitors who share his name.

Indian Kashmir shuts down over election killing

SRINAGAR, India: Indian Kashmir largely shut down on Thursday over the shooting death of a man during protests one day earlier against the country's ongoing mammoth election, residents and police said.

India's Modi votes, snaps 'selfie' in latest election leg

AHMEDABAD, India:  Indian frontrunner for prime minister Narendra Modi predicted defeat for the Gandhi political dynasty as he voted Wednesday in his home state in the latest stage of the country's mammoth elections.

A new Gandhi seeks to revive Indian dynasty's fortunes

NEW DELHI, April 29, 2014 (AFP) - As India's ruling Congress heads for what could be its worst ever election defeat, Priyanka Gandhi, sister of lacklustre campaign leader Rahul Gandhi, has stepped up to lead a fightback by the political dynasty.

Satirical election card game releases Sabah and Sarawak expansion pack

KUALA LUMPUR: Politiko, Malaysia’s satirical election card game, has come out with a Sabah & Sarawak expansion set, promising more thrills and underhanded tactics.

PKR polls: Azmin, Saifuddin to be hauled up for allegedly criticising other candidates

PETALING JAYA: Deputy president hopefuls for the upcoming PKR elections, Azmin Ali and Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, will be hauled up by the party election committee for criticising other candidates during recent media interviews.

Stricter rules imposed on PKR election candidates

PETALING JAYA: PKR election director Datuk Johari Abdul has warned candidates against voicing their grievances to the media with regard the upcoming party election.

India votes in world's biggest election

Dibrugarh, India (AFP) - The first Indian voters head to the polls Monday for the world's biggest election, set to sweep the opposition Hindu nationalists to power at a time of low growth, anger about corruption and warnings about religious unrest.

Race-based voting a step back

I am immensely thankful that I represent a diverse parliamentary constituency. Serdang is racially diverse comprising 49% Chinese, 40% Malay, 11% Indian and 1% other voters.

Ex-Fiji PM convicted on tax charges, out of election

SUVA, Fiji: The leader of one of Fiji's main opposition parties, former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry, was convicted on tax charges Friday, ruling him out of this year's election in the coup-plagued Pacific nation.

Survey: Indonesia opposition to top legislative polls

JAKARTA: Indonesia's main opposition party is set to win a convincing victory at legislative elections next week, boosted by the nomination of the popular Jakarta governor as their presidential candidate, a poll showed.

Amma, Didi, Behenji: India's female kingmakers

PONDICHERRY, India: The makeup of India's next government could lie in the hands of a trio of women who command a massive following in their regional heartlands, including a populist former movie star known as "Mother" to supporters.