29 February, 2008

Dead or alive, Malaysia voters among world's oldest ?

Malaysia has found nearly 9,000 people aged more than 100 on its electoral rolls as it heads for general elections next month, raising suspicions that the books are "contaminated" with dead voters.

They included two 128-year-olds !!.

"As far as the commission is concerned, as of December 31 last year, these voters are still alive," Kamaruzaman said.

Opposition groups have complained for years that the rolls are outdated and vulnerable to fraud.

As of December 2006, some 15,2 million Malaysians had attained the age of 21 but only 10.3 million registered as voters. 70% of the 4.9 million Malaysians yet to register as voters are aged between 21 and 35 years. These statistics compiled by the Election Commission as published in The Sun 28 February 2008.

Early stats show up to 77% pro-BN coverage in newspapers. Mainstream newspapers gave up to 77 per cent coverage for the Barisan Nasional in terms of stories on the 12th general elections in the week leading to the nominations on 24 February. On average, the six newspapers for which data have been collated had between 50 and 70 per cent stories that portrayed BN in a positive light.

Makkal Osai topped with 77 percent on 18 February of its election stories in BN's favour, Utusan Malaysia 75 per cent on 20 February and The Star, 70 per cent on 18 February.

On average, the six newspapers for which data have been collated, had between 50 and 70 per cent stories that portrayed BN in a positive light.

This is the preliminary result in the quantitative analysis carried out by volunteers who are part of the citizens' election media monitoring initiative. The newspapers monitored for the statistics are New Straits Times, The Star, theSun, Utusan Malaysia, Makkal Osai and Malaysia Nanban from 18 February to 22 February 2008.

Meanwhile, India has expressed concerns to Malaysian authorities on grievances expressed by certain Malaysians of Indian origin over their social conditions and religious rights, External Affairs Minister of India Pranab Mukherjee said.

“During our interactions with Malaysian authorities, concerns expressed in India, including in the parliament, regarding developments pertaining to the Indian community in Malaysia have been suitably conveyed,” Mukherjee said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

Abdullah's Power May Be Curbed by Malaysia Minorities

After Vella Murugan's third application for a government-subsidized mortgage was turned down in September, he decided he would back the opposition in Malaysia's March 8 election.

He blames the rejection on his Indian ancestry. ``I see my Malay neighbors with the same salary as me getting loans all the time,'' said Vella, 38, a laborer from a Kuala Lumpur suburb who earns about 800 ringgit ($245) a month, just above the official poverty line. Indians ``have a lack of opportunities.''

Malaysia's biggest minorities -- Indians and Chinese -- have become more vocal in airing such grievances, taking a toll on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's support. In November, Vella joined 10,000 other Indians to protest Malaysia's legalized discrimination system, the largest ethnic demonstration in Kuala Lumpur since 1969.

`We love being part of Malaysia, but the government has to know how we feel,'' Vella said.

Come election day, ``some non-Malays might feel that they need to vote for the opposition because of what they have seen and felt,'' said Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, international studies dean at Universiti Utara Malaysia...more.

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