Malaysian Activists to Rally for Electoral Reform

Posted April 4th, 2012 at 8:15 am (UTC-5)
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Malaysian activists have called for a mass demonstration later this month to demand further voting reforms before general elections scheduled for next year.

The Bersih coalition says it will hold the rally on April 28th in Kuala Lumpur. It has accused the ruling National Front of engaging in various acts of electoral fraud in order to keep its five-decade old grip on power. The group staged a massive protest rally last July in the Malaysian capital that was broken up by police using tear gas and water cannons, and led to the arrests of 1,600 people.

The demonstrations spurred Prime Minister Najib Razak to form a parliamentary panel to come up with a list of possible reforms. The panel released its proposals on Tuesday, such as allowing political candidates equal access to the news media, ensuring the electoral rolls list only legitimate voters, and keeping the Election Commission independent of partisan politics.

But the Bersih coalition said the proposals do not go far enough. It is demanding international observers monitor the polls.