May 09, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR — After this week's closest election in Malaysia’s history, the ruling National Front returned to power with a majority in parliament. The opposition alliance, however, won more than half the votes. The result has left a divided country, with the opposition alleging electoral fraud, and many in the ruling coalition are blaming the ethnic Chinese majority for their poor performance.
Tens of thousands of supporters of the opposition People’s Alliance packed into a stadium Wednesday night in Kuala Lumpur, not to celebrate their best-ever election performance. They were there to protest against what they say is the fraud that robbed them of victory.
Analysts say electoral districts heavily favored the ruling coalition, with many seats for smaller populations in rural areas that are the National Front’s strongholds. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim goes further, accusing the election commission of siding with the ruling coalition.
"Yeah, we have seen the groundswell and they have been translated into the elections only to be stolen by the ruling clique. But now I think what we need to do is to explain and let the people take up from there - what do they want? They want to surrender to the corrupt regime or they want to claim what is rightfully theirs?" asked Ibrahim.
Defending the elections
The National Front maintains that the elections were free and fair.
The opposition People’s Alliance succeeded in cutting the ruling coalition’s majority in parliament; it won many more seats in state legislatures; it tightened its grip on Malaysia’s two most-developed states, which it has ruled for five years.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said the results were caused by a huge swing of support toward the opposition from the ethnic Chinese community that makes up about a quarter of the population.
Political analysts, such as Keith Leong, say other, more decisive factors were at play.
“It’s more of a geographic and a class issue. The fact is that the opposition was also able to make gains in largely urban Malay areas and so it is actually more of an urban-rural divide. The opposition’s message was able to resonate more with the urban dwellers, especially with the young voters,” said Leong.
Playing blame game
Still, many leading figures in the ruling coalition blame the Chinese community for their poor showing and a Malay-language newspaper linked to the ruling party caused outrage with a headline asking “What more do the Chinese want?”
The leader of the ruling party’s youth wing, Khairy Jamaluddi, said such attitudes hurt his coalition in the election.
“We have to rein in the more extremist elements within our own party, within our own media establishment and we must speak against it. If leaders abdicate this responsibility then this nation is going to be further divided. This is a time for us to step up and speak and act on that message of inclusively and moderation,” said Jamaluddi.
Prime Minister Najib said he also is worried about polarization and will seek national reconciliation. But Wednesday night’s huge rally rejecting the legitimacy of the election results indicates just how tough a task that will be.
alliance (n) （國家和黨派的）聯盟
allege (v) 斷言，宣稱
fraud (n) 詭計；騙局
district (n) 區,轄區
stronghold (n) 大本營;據點
commission (n) 委員會
馬來西亞經過結果最接近的一次選舉 (closest election)，雖然反對黨聯盟 (the opposition) 贏得了過半的總票數 (more than half the votes)，但執政的國民陣線 (the ruling National Front) 重掌實權，在國會得多數席次 (majority in parliament)。這樣的結果導致了分裂的國家 (a divided country)，反對黨宣稱 (alleging) 有選舉舞弊事件 (electoral fraud)，而執政聯盟則責難占多數的華人選民 (the ethnic Chinese majority)，是本次選舉不利 (poor performance) 的原因。
一般分析認為，選舉區 (electoral districts) 對執政聯盟有絕對優勢，在鄉村區域許多選舉人口數較少的席次 (seats for smaller populations) 本就是國民陣線的大本營 (strongholds)。反對黨領袖則是進一步指控選舉委員會 (election commission) 偏袒執政聯盟。
groundswell (n) (輿論、情緒等的)迅速高漲(或發展)
clique (n) 派系；黨派 XXXXX*注意發音
corrupt (a) 腐敗的，貪污的
regime (n) 政體；政權
make up (v) 組成
decisive (a) 決定性的
resonate (v) (使)共鳴；(使)起回聲
dweller (n) 居民；居住者
反對黨在本次選舉中成功的削弱了執政聯盟在國會的多數優勢。對選舉結果，馬來西亞總理表示，占選民數四分之一的華裔選民的支持度大幅度轉向 (a huge swing of support toward . . . ) 反對黨是影響這次選舉的主因，但政治分析師 Keith Leong 則認為還有其它決定性因素 (decisive factors) 在本次選舉中發生作用 (at play)。他認為本次選舉的結果反映出了地理性與階級性議題 (a geographic and a class issue)。反對黨能在大多的都市區域 (urban areas) 增加選票 (make gains)，表示這是都市與鄉村的對立，其訴求更能與都市居民 (urban dwellers) 產生共鳴 (resonate with . . .)，尤其是年輕選民。
outrage (n) 義憤,憤慨
rein in (v phr) 駕馭；控制
abdicate (v) 正式放棄(權力等)
step up (v phr) 加快；增加；促進
polarization (n) 對立；分裂
reconciliation (n) 調解，調停
執政聯盟的多位領導人物 (leading figures) 將選舉不利歸咎於華人選民，係屬執政黨的馬來語報紙甚至以標題 (headline) 質問「華人還想要什麼？」，引起譁然 (outrage)。執政黨的青年團 (youth wing) 領袖表示，這樣的態度傷害了本次的選舉同盟，必須抑制(rein in) 黨內和媒體上的極端份子 (extremist elements)，要出聲反對 (speak against . . . ) 這樣的行為。如果領導人摒棄 (abdicate) 這樣的責任，那會使得國家更加分裂。馬來西亞總理也說，他擔心選後持續性對立 (polarization)，並將尋求國內的和解 (national reconciliation)。
Check your vocabulary!
Fill in the blanks with a word or phrase from the list above. Make necessary changes. After you finish, select the text below to reveal the hidden answers.
1. We tried to rein in our excitement and curiosity.
2. Many politicians and members of the public expressed outrage at the verdict.
3. The king was forced to abdicate his throne.
4. It took hours of negotiations to bring about a reconciliation between the two sides.
5. The old corrupt, totalitarian regime was overthrown.
6. The government have established a commission to investigate the problem of inner city violence.
7. He's been charged with tax fraud.
8. These results could prove decisive in establishing the criminal's identity.