Malaysian general election, 1969
General elections were held in Malaysia on 10 May 1969, although voting was postponed until between 6 June and 4 July 1970 in Sabah and Sarawak. This election marked the first parliamentary election held in Sabah and Sarawak after the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
The election resulted in the return to power, with a reduced majority, of the ruling Alliance Party, comprising the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the Malayan Chinese Association, and the Malayan Indian Congress. The Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan) and the Democratic Action Party (DAP), which had campaigned against Bumiputra privileges outlined by Article 153 of the Constitution, made major gains in the election. Voter turnout was 73.6%. Opposition won 54 seats in total causing the Alliance to lose its two-thirds majority in the Parliament (two-thirds majority being the majority required to pass most constitutional amendments) for the first time. This election also saw that Alliance lost its majority in Perak, Selangor and Penang in addition to Kelantan.
|Political Party||Votes||% of vote||Seats||% of seats||+/–|
|United Malays National Organisation||UMNO||52*||36.1||-7|
|Malaysian Chinese Association||MCA||13||9.0||-14|
|Malaysian Indian Congress||MIC||2||1.4||-1|
|Sarawak Chinese Association||SCA||1||0.7||New|
|Parti Bumiputera Sarawak||BUMIPUTERA||6||4.2||New|
|Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party||PAS||495,641||20.9||12||8.3||+3|
|Democratic Action Party||DAP||286,606||12.1||13||9.0||+12|
|Malaysian People's Movement Party||Gerakan||178,971||7.5||8||5.6||New|
|People's Progressive Party||PPP||80,756||3.4||4||2.8||+2|
|Sarawak United People's Party||SUPP||71,293||3.0||5||3.5||New|
|Sarawak National Party||SNAP||64,593||2.7||9||6.3||New|
|United Sabah National Organisation||USNO||31,947||1.3||13||9.0||New|
|Parti Pesaka Sarawak||PESAKA||30,765||1.3||2||1.4||New|
|Sabah Chinese Association||SCA||24,699||1.0||3||2.1||New|
|United Malaysian Chinese Organisation||UMCO||1,808||0.1||0||0.0||New|
|Total (turnout: 73.6%)||2,532,042||100.0||144||100.0||+40|
|Did not vote||917,958|
|Source: Nohlen et al. , 
West Malaysia went to the polls on 10 May, while Sabah was scheduled to vote on 25 May and Sarawak on 7 June. The Alliance won 10 seats in Sabah on nomination day being unopposed in some constituencies, so after the West Malaysian elections they were assured of a clear majority of 76 out of a total of 144 parliamentary seats. Tun Mustapha Datu Harun’s United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) won 10 out of 16 seats unopposed for the Alliance on nomination day.
The opposition parties’ gain at state level was more shocking to the Alliance Party which not only continued to lose to PAS in Kelantan, but also to political infant Gerakan in Penang. No party commanded an absolute majority in two other states. The Alliance held only 14 out of 24 seats in Selangor and 19 out of 40 in Perak.
Very interestingly, the attrition of Malay support was much higher than that of the non-Malays. Malay opposition parties’ vote shares in the peninsula increased drastically from about 15% in 1964 to 25% in 1969 while the support for non-Malay opposition parties remained roughly the same at 26% in both elections. Thanks to the electoral system, however, PAS seats increased from nine to 12 seats only while non-Malay opposition party, DAP, from 12 to 25.
Gerakan and DAP held a victory rally in Kuala Lumpur on 12 May, but the rally turned rowdy, with party members shouting racial epithets at Malay bystanders. UMNO retaliated with its own rally on 13 May, which soon broke out into full-scale rioting, which subsequently became known as the 13 May Incident.
- Nohlen, D, Grotz, F & Hartmann, C (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume II, p152 ISBN 0-19-924959-8
- Report on the parliamentary (Dewan Rakyat) and state legislative assembly general elections 1969 of the states of Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak Election Commission of Malaysia
- Zainon Ahmad (26 July 2007). "The tragedy of May 13, 1969 (part 2)". The Sun. Retrieved 24 June 2010.