Malaysian general election, 1969

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Malaysian general election, 1969
1964 ←
10 May 1969 → 1974

All 144 seats in the Dewan Rakyat
73 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 73.6%
  First party Second party Third party
  Tunku abd rahman.jpg
Leader Tunku Abdul Rahman Burhanuddin al-Helmy Goh Hock Guan
Party Alliance PAS DAP
Leader since 23 August 1951 1956 1969
Last election 89 seats, 58.5% 9 seats, 14.6% 1 seat, 2.0%
Seats won 77 12 13
Seat change Decrease 12 Increase 3 Increase 12
Popular vote 1,063,238 495,641 286,606
Percentage 50.9% 20.9% 12.1%

Prime Minister before election

Tunku Abdul Rahman

Prime Minister-designate

Tunku Abdul Rahman

General elections were held in Malaysia on 10 May 1969, although voting was postponed until between 21 and 27 June in Sabah and Sarawak.[1] 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.[2] 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.


Party Votes % Seats +/-
Alliance Party 1,063,238 44.3 77 -12
United Malays National Organisation (Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu, UMNO) 51
Malaysian Chinese Association (Persatuan Cina Malaysia, MCA) 13
Malaysian Indian Congress (Kongres India Se-Malaysia, MIC) 2
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party 495,641 20.9 12 +3
Democratic Action Party, previously People's Action Party 286,606 12.1 13 +12
Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia 178,971 7.5 8 New
People's Progressive Party 80,756 3.4 4 +2
Sarawak United People's Party 71,293 3.0 5 New
Sarawak National Party 64,593 2.7 9 New
United Sabah National Organisation 31,947 1.3 13 New
Parti Pesaka Sarawak 30,765 1.3 2 New
Parti Rakyat 25,785 1.1 0 New
United Malaysian Chinese Organisation 1,808 0.1 0 New
Independents 41,710 1.8 1 +1
Invalid/blank votes 134,230 - - -
Total 2,532,042 100 144 +40
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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[3]


  1. ^ Nohlen, D, Grotz, F & Hartmann, C (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume II, p152 ISBN 0-19-924959-8
  2. ^ a b 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
  3. ^ a b Zainon Ahmad (26 July 2007). "The tragedy of May 13, 1969 (part 2)". The Sun. Retrieved 24 June 2010.