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Malaysia: Najib promises national reconciliation in front of voting polarization

6th May 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, (Xinhua): Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional chairman Najib Razak has promised a national reconciliation after the voting polarization in the fiercely contested general election.

Barisan retained power by winning 133 parliamentary seats, a simple majority in the 222-seat lower house of parliament.

It failed to improve from the 2008 election when it lost its long held two-third parliamentary majority, as the Chinese voters, consisted of around 25 percent of the total population, voted overwhelmingly for the opposition, causing a heavy blow to the Chinese based party in the Barisan.

The Malaysian Chinese Association, the major Chinese component party within the coalition, won merely seven parliamentary seats in the total 37 seats in contested, down from 15 seats in the last election.

Its president Chua Soi Lek reiterated after the announcement of election result that his party will not accept any cabinet position as it won less seat than in the previous election.

Oh Ei Sun, Senior Fellow at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said Barisan hanged on power thanked to its large support in the rural areas dominated by the Malay majority.

He warned that the Chinese will be under-represented in the new government if MCA sticks to its promise.

Shocked by the swing of the Chinese voters, Najib told a press conference early Monday that the voting polarization is worrying.

He said his government will embark on a national reconciliation to prevent “extremism and racism.”

“We will continue to promote moderation among multi-racial Malaysians as the Barisan government places great importance on racial harmony and national unity,” he said.

Many Chinese has long lamented the pro-Malay policies as well as corruption problems of the Barisan government, which has been in power since the country achieved independence in 1957.

Najib has tried to turn the tide after taking office in 2009 by approaching the Chinese voters. He even has a Facebook page using the ID “Ah Jib Gor” which means “Brother Najib” in Chinese to interact with the Chinese community.


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