Malaysian gov't slams Anwar for stirring unrest over poll results

The Malaysian government slammed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim for attempting to create unrest as his supporters gear up for a major rally later Wednesday to protest the recently concluded election, which Anwar claims was riddled with irregularities.

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters are expected to gather at a stadium on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday evening to protest Sunday's election that was won by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's 13-party National Front coalition.

The Front, or BN, won 133 seats while Anwar's three-party People's Alliance won 89 in the parliamentary vote.

"Anwar has deliberately refused to apply for permission for his protest and deliberately chosen a small stadium to ensure it will spill onto the streets. His protest is calculated to create unrest," a government spokesman said in a statement.

The police have categorized the rally as illegal because the opposition did not give the police 10 days notice as per the law.

The Selangor State police chief, Deputy Commissioner Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah, did, however, tell The Star newspaper they would "avoid confrontation with the organizers or participants in the spirit of peaceful assembly."

Anwar has called on his supporters to wear black during the gathering "as a mark of protest against the blatant fraud."

Wednesday's rally, he added, will "be the beginning for a fierce movement to clean this country from election malpractices and fraud for there is no opportunity for renewal without a clean and fair election."

Anwar's claims of "malpractices" are backed by poll observers accredited by the Elections Commission.

The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs and the Center for Public Policy Studies released a joint report Wednesday that concludes the election "was only partially free and not fair."

Among their findings were the integrity of the electoral rolls, which remains questionable, the failure of the not so "indelible" ink that was used for the first time in this election and the bias of the state-funded mainstream media that "have been abused to project partisan views to the public."

The report also pointed to gerrymandering that resulted in the opposition winning the popular vote but not the majority of seats.

For the first time since 1969, the opposition succeeded in winning more votes than the ruling party -- 51.4 percent of the popular vote to the BN's 48.6 percent.

"Constituency sizes are too unequal, allowing parties that win many smaller seats to win parliament despite not commanding popular support," the report said.

The sizes of the 222 constituencies range from the smallest, Putrajaya with fewer than 7,000 registered voters, to the biggest, Kapar which has more than 110,000 registered voters.

The BN's support came mainly from smaller, rural constituencies.

Despite the flaws, institute chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan urged all parties to accept the result.

"I personally believe that we should accept the result. It is credible as of now...partially free and not fair. If we don't, where do we go from there?" he asked at a press conference presenting the report.