Malaysian opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition hopes for large voter turnout


KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Vice President Nurul Izzah, daughter of opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim, said on Wednesday (May 9) that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition’s chance of winning Malaysia’s 14th general election rests on a large voter turnout.

“We have to make sure it crosses the threshold of 75 per cent and above” to overcome what she described as “the flaws” in the election.

“We got to make sure people come out to safeguard the postal and the ballot boxes,” said Nurul to reporters in Kuala Lumpur after flying in to vote in her former constituency of Lembah Pantai where she served for two terms.

“It (election) will never be entirely free and fair. We don’t even have commonwealth (monitors) observing us. We only have Kazakhstan, please … let’s be clear about that,” said Nurul.

As at noon, voter turnout was 47 per cent, according to the Elections Commission, lower than the 58.88 per cent who had voted by midday in the 2013 general election.

Businessman Zac Fernandez, 41, feels this election is special and the prospect for change appears possible.

“I am voting for change, hoping for change. Many of us feel that change is possible now. So we are very excited about this,” said Fernandez.

The high cost of living and depreciating ringgit has made life harder for him, he said.

“I am a business owner and the cost of living has gone up by at least 35 per cent since the last election,” said Fernandez.

Fresh graduate, Andrew Chang, 25, is voting for the first time as he believes “every vote matters.”

Out of the 14.9 million voters, over 40 per cent of them are aged 21-39, making youths a powerful voting bloc.

University lecturer Prema Ponnudurai, 43, said the election was a “once in every five years” chance to make her voice heard.

“There are so many things that need to be addressed … the declining quality of our education, the inequality in getting scholarships,” said Prema.

Her mother-in-law, Pushpa Jayasingam, 74, who came in a wheelchair, said she came out to vote despite her disability because it was “her duty.”

Rafeah Omar, 81, another wheelchair-bound voter, never misses an election.

“It is my duty to vote. This election, I see so many people (politicians) quarreling among themselves. I myself am very happy with the current government,” she said.


Asia News


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