Barisan Nasional

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Barisan Nasional
Leader Najib Razak
Founded 1973[1]
Preceded by Parti Perikatan
Headquarters Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Youth wing Barisan Nasional Youth Movement
Membership  (2013) 450,000
Ideology Conservatism
Islamic democracy[2]
Political position Right-wing
National affiliation Barisan Nasional
Colors Royal blue
134 / 222
State Assemblies:
330 / 576
Coat of arms of Malaysia.svg
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Barisan Nasional (BN) (Malay; historically National Front) is a major political party in Malaysia, formed in 1973 as the successor to the Alliance (Perikatan). Along with its predecessor, it has been Malaysia's federal ruling political force since independence in 1957, and is considered the longest continuing ruling party in the democratic world.[4][5] The coalition's headquarters is located in the nation's capital, Kuala Lumpur.

In the 2008 general elections, Barisan Nasional lost more than one-third of parliamentary seats to Pakatan Rakyat, a loose alliance of opposition parties. This marked Barisan's first failure to secure a two-thirds supermajority in Parliament since Independence. Five state governments, Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Perak (which was later returned via court ruling following a constitutional crisis) and Selangor, fell to Pakatan Rakyat. In 2013, BN retained its simple majority and regained Kedah, but lost several more seats in Parliament along with the popular vote to Pakatan. Since 2008, the coalition has seen its non-Malay component parties virtually wiped out in the Peninsula. [6]


As of 2013, the vast majority of Barisan Nasional's seats are held by its two largest Bumiputera-based political parties—the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB). For most of its history, both the Malaysian Chinese Association and Malaysian Indian Congress have played major roles in Barisan Nasional, but their representation in Parliament and state legislatures has become much more diminished. Nevertheless, practically each component party purports to represent – and limit membership – to a certain race: UMNO for the Malays, MCA for the Chinese and so on. In the view of some scholars:

Since its inception the Alliance remained a coalition of communal parties. Each of the component parties operated to all intents and purposes, save that of elections, as a separate party. Their membership was communal, except perhaps Gerakan, and their success was measured in terms of their ability to achieve the essentially parochial demands of their constituents.[7]

Although both the Alliance and BN registered themselves as political parties, membership is only possible indirectly through one of the constituent parties. In the Alliance, one could hold direct membership, but this was abolished with the formation of the Barisan Nasional. The BN defines itself as a "confederation of political parties which subscribe to the objects of the Barisan Nasional". Although in elections, all candidates stand under the BN symbol, and there is a BN manifesto, each individual constituent party also issues its own manifesto, and there is intra-coalition competition for seats prior to nomination day.[8]

In 2008, the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), consisting of two MPs, announced it would leave Barisan Nasional to sit on the crossbenches of Parliament.[9]

As of August 2009, Barisan Nasional's member parties include:

Controlled states and chief ministers[edit]

High-ranking BN party officials holding copies of the party manifesto at a pre-election rally in 2013

General election results[edit]

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
135 / 154
1,287,400 60.8% Increase135 seats; Governing coalition Abdul Razak Hussein
131 / 154
1,987,907 57.2% Decrease4 seats; Governing coalition Hussein Onn
132 / 154
2,522,079 60.5% Increase1 seats; Governing coalition Mahathir Mohamad
148 / 177
2,649,263 57.3% Increase16 seats; Governing coalition Mahathir Mohamad
127 / 180
2,985,392 53.4% Decrease21 seats; Governing coalition Mahathir Mohamad
162 / 192
3,881,214 65.2% Increase35 seats; Governing coalition Mahathir Mohamad
147 / 193
3,748,511 56.53% Decrease15 seats; Governing coalition Mahathir Mohamad
198 / 219
4,420,452 63.9% Increase51 seats; Governing coalition Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
140 / 222
4,082,411 50.27% Decrease58 seats; Governing coalition Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
133 / 222
5,237,699 47.38% Decrease7 seats;[12] Governing coalition Najib Razak


  1. ^ "Is Barisan Nasional Really That Cohesive?". mylivingwall.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Keputusan Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-12". 
  4. ^ "Running Scared in Malaysia". The Wall Street Journal. 8 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Malaysians vote to decide fate of world’s longest-ruling coalition". Toronto Sun. 5 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "Malaysia coalition extends rule despite worst electoral showing". REUTERS. 5 May 2013. 
  7. ^ Rachagan, S. Sothi (1993). Law and the Electoral Process in Malaysia, p. 12. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. ISBN 967-9940-45-4.
  8. ^ Rachagan, p. 21.
  9. ^ "Rebel party wins support in no-confidence against Malaysian PM". AFP (AFP). 20 June 2008. Retrieved 20 June 2008. 
  10. ^ News."GE13: Khaled expected to be sworn in as Johor MB next week", The Star Johor Baru, 8 May 2013. Retrieved on 9 May 2013.
  11. ^ Kow Kwan Yee."GE13: Azlan Man sworn in as Perlis MB", The Star, Arau, 7 May 2013. Retrieved on 9 May 2013
  12. ^ Maierbrugger, Arno (16 August 2013). "Malaysia gov't bashed for $155m election ad spending". Inside Investor. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 

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