Malaysian general election, 2013
|Results in parliamentary ridings|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Malaysia held general elections on 5 May 2013 following the dissolution of the Parliament announced on 3 April 2013. Both the House of Representatives and 12 out of 13 state legislative assemblies (with the exception of Sarawak) were renewed.
The federal ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, dominated by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party of prime minister Najib Razak, formed the federal government with a 60% of parliamentary seats even though it won a mere 47.38% of the popular vote while the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim formed the bulk of the opposition in Parliament after winning 50.87% of the popular vote. This is the worst result for Barisan Nasional since the 1969 elections. Despite winning the popular vote and making gains in the number of parliamentary seats, the Pakatan Rakyat coalition failed to win a majority of seats to form the federal government. For state legislative assemblies elections, Barisan Nasional won 9 out of 12 states, including Kedah and Perak which were won by Pakatan Rakyat in the last elections.
- 1 Background
- 2 Dissolution of Parliament
- 3 Dissolution of state legislative assemblies
- 4 Date
- 5 Election Issues
- 6 Incidents
- 7 Manifestos
- 8 Nominations
- 9 Voting process
- 10 Results
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The incumbent Barisan Nasional coalition was returned to power in the 2008 general elections with 140 seats. The opposition parties that would later form the Pakatan Rakyat coalition won a total of 82 seats, thereby denying the BN its Two-thirds majority which is required to pass amendments to the Federal Constitution. Pakatan Rakyat also gained control of five out of thirteen state assemblies (has since lost one state assembly-Perak to BN due to defection) and 10 of the 11 parliamentary seats in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.
Following their losses, then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced on 8 October 2008 that he was stepping down as well, resigning his post as United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party leader. A leadership election was held on 26 March 2009, where then Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister-designate Najib Tun Razak was elected unopposed as the UMNO party leader. On 2 April 2009, Prime Minister Abdullah tendered his resignation to the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin (who was the Yang di-Pertuan Agong) which was consented. On 3 April 2009, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was sworn-in as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia at the Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in front of Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin.
Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and the Leader of the Opposition Anwar Ibrahim, also the head of Pakatan Rakyat was returned to parliament after a ten-year absence following his victory in the Permatang Pauh by-election. The by-election was triggered when his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail resigned from her Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, allowing Anwar to contest the seat and subsequently return to parliament.
Dissolution of Parliament
The Malaysian Parliament was dissolved on 3 April 2013 by Tuanku Abdul Halim, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Tun Razak. The Prime Minister made a televised statement announcing the dissolution of the 12th Parliament at 11:30 am local time the same day. Following the dissolution of Parliament, a general election was required to be held within 60 days, between 3 April and 2 June 2013, with the date to be decided by the Election Commission.
Dissolution of state legislative assemblies
In accordance with Malaysian law, the parliament as well as the legislative assemblies of each state (Dewan Undangan Negeri) would automatically dissolve on the fifth anniversary of the first sitting, and elections must be held within sixty days of the dissolution, unless dissolved prior to that date by their respective Heads of State on the advice of their Heads of Government.
On 28 March 2013, the Negeri Sembilan Legislative Assembly became the first state assembly to dissolve automatically in Malaysian history. The state government would remain in place as a caretaker government and assembly members' constituency offices would remain open to serve the constituencies' needs.
Following the dissolution of the Federal Parliament, state assemblies that have yet to be dissolved have announced their dissolution in quick succession. Below are the dates of which the legislative assemblies of each state were dissolved:
|Date||End of Term||States||Remarks|
||Negeri Sembilan||Dissolved automatically after expiry of 5-year term|
The Sarawak State Legislative Assembly was not dissolved as the last election was held in 2011 and the term of the state assembly is due to end in 2016. Only parliamentary elections will be held there.
On 10 April 2013, the Election Commission of Malaysia announced nominations for election candidates would be held on 20 April, with the general election set for 5 May. The early voting date of 30 April has also been announced by the Election Commission. Official campaigning begins on 20 April, allowing for a 15-day campaigning period. Postal voting for eligible overseas Malaysians have been announced for 28 April 2013. Malaysian representative offices will open on that day for this purpose from 9 am to 6 pm local time. Offices in London and Melbourne will close at 8 pm instead for the number of postal voters registered in those cities exceed 1,000.
Even before the dissolution of Parliament, both the incumbent BN and Pakatan Rakyat have brought up a number of issues and incentives to be given to the Malaysian electorate to gain a decisive advantage during the election. Both coalitions have released separate election manifestos dealing with issues such as minimum wage, taxation, assistance to small-medium industries, racial relations and financial assistance to the poor. The 2013 elections will also see a number of new measures intended to improve the electoral process.
Since the last general election a Parliament Select Committee has been formed to make recommendations to improve the country's electoral process. The general election in 2013 will bring about the introduction of Indelible ink to prevent voters from voting more than once. The usage of indelible ink was mooted for use during the last elections in 2008 but was scrapped by the Election Commission at the last minute. However, it had been a source of controversy as reports of voters claiming that the indelible ink can be easily washed off were circulated in the media.
There will also be advanced voting for civil servants and military personnel in place of postal voting. This was partly in response to protests by election watchdog groups and opposition parties that the previous voting procedures were not transparent and prone to manipulation.
The Election Commission will for the first time introduce postal voting for Malaysians who reside overseas. However these have come with conditions, among them being overseas Malaysians have to had been in Malaysia a number of times in the last five years. Overseas Malaysians residing in Singapore, southern Thailand, Brunei or Kalimantan in Indonesia are also not qualified to register as postal voters but must return to their constituency if they are to cast their ballots.
The EC will also permit the disabled to bring along an assistant into the polling booth to aid them in the voting process.
When Najib took over from Abdullah Badawi, he began enlarging the budget of the Prime Minister's Department, where he appointed Koh Tsu Koon to be in charge of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP), which includes monitoring the performance of ministries and six national key result areas (NKRAs) through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). He also appointed the former CEO of Malaysian Airlines Idris Jala to help monitor the implementation of the KPIs in the form of the government's Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu).
Najib's administration also introduced the slogan 1Malaysia in which he called for the embracing all Malaysians of various ethnic groups, national unity and efficient governance. This became public policy, involving various initiatives like the introduction of discount grocery stores to help the poor, 1Malaysia clinics providing free basic medical services and free email accounts (1Malaysia Email) for the Malaysian populace. His administration also began the distribution of financial aid to Malaysian households earning less than RM3,000 called 1Malaysia People's Aid or Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M). A second round of BR1M financial allocations were made out in February 2013 totalling RM2.6 billion.
Another issue that has arisen is UMNO endorsing controversial candidates from the Malay right-wing group Perkasa to contest in the upcoming elections such as Zulkifli Noordin and Ibrahim Ali. Although Ibrahim Ali will contest the Pasir Mas parliamentary seat as an independent candidate, the BN candidate who was supposed to challenge Ibrahim Ali did not file his nomination papers. The Pasir Mas parliamentary seat is the only seat without a BN candidate in this elections.
During the election campaign Muhyiddin Yassin, the incumbent Deputy Prime Minister had called for Malay Muslims to fight the alleged spread of LGBT movements and freedom of religion among the Malays. Furthermore, Najib has said that his government will defend the prohibition of the usage of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims, which is currently being challenged in court.
The opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has remain focused on the good governance of the Malaysian states (Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Selangor) that they currently control despite not getting full assistance from the federal government One of the points they have made is the strong economic performance of the two states of Penang and Selangor which were reported in the media to have attracted higher business investments compared to other state governments with a BN majority. Some aspects of Pakatan's Election Manifesto is borrowed from their administrative masterplan Buku Jingga. In 2011, Penang and Selangor recorded a total of RM 17.8 billion in investments in the manufacturing sector, slightly more than 30% of the national share.
PR has announced its intention to replace the criticised New Economic Policy which they claim is discriminatory and only benefits certain groups of people, such as UMNO-connected individuals. Another main election promise they have brought up is to cut the amount of spending wastages and will use direct aid to pay for social causes and provide free education around the country. One of the other issues is the Pakatan Rakyat's tussle for control of water company Syabas with the federal government, which have allegedly been mismanaging their operations. They have promised to give free water for the poor and unfortunate in the state of Selangor.
PR has also promised to close down the Lynas Advance Materials Plant situated in Kuantan, Pahang if it is deemed unsafe. This has received the support of Himpunan Hijau, the green movement opposed to the operations of the Lynas plant, whose chairman, Wong Tack will be contesting in the elections under the DAP banner.
PR has also promised to increase the petroleum royalty payments from national oil company Petronas to petroleum-producing states (Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak) in Malaysia, irrespective of the party that forms the next state government.
On 13 April 2013, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) sent a letter to DAP due to technical glitches in the party polls, requesting several of DAP's members to attend an inquiry on 18 April 2013. This may endanger DAP's chance to contest in the general election due to fears the party might be deregistered. DAP had mulled the intention for their candidates to contest under the banner of PKR and PAS, but have received assurance from the ROS that their symbol can be used legally during the general elections.
In Sarawak, opposition party DAP had put up election billboards highlighting the issue of murdered Mongolian Altantuyaa Sharibuu, but these billboards were torn down by enforcement officers. Following protests made by local DAP members, it was explained that the election billboards were removed as it depicted a person who was not contesting in the elections.
The upcoming election has brought the entry of many third parties that may influence the election outcome in many parliament and state seats. Indian based party Human Rights Party Malaysia, which was instrumental in organising Indians in protests against the government such as Hindraf rally in 2007, will be contesting in several seats in Peninsular Malaysia. Currently, there there two camps in Hindraf: one aligned to Barisan Nasional and another that is neutral. Borneo-based parties such as Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) (a former BN coalition partner) and the State Reform Party (STAR) will be contesting the election on their own after a breakdown in talks with PR in having one to one contests against BN. The entry of these parties have brought about multi-cornered fights in Sabah and Sarawak. One of the main issues they have brought up is the increasing number of illegals in Sabah and of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah. Furthermore, SAPP and STAR are partners in the United Borneo Front which is fighting for the equal status of Sabah and Sarawak as stipulated in the Malaysia Agreement that was made in 1963.
The election watchdog group Bersih will be a big factor in the elections as they were responsible for organising large rallies calling for the electoral reforms in Malaysia in 2011 and 2012. They have pointed out that the electoral roll was marred by irregularities such as gerrymandering, phantom voters, malapportionment and postal vote fraud. Bersih has also warned against politicians or groups that support intimidation and violence against the electorate. Bersih has added to its blacklist of politicians who perpetuate the cycle of political violence such as Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi and BN candidate Hamidah Othman.  Bersih has criticised both the BN-majority federal and PR-majority Selangor state caretaker governments for using government resources for election campaigning purposes.
During the first three days of the official campaigning period, a total of 387 incidents were reported, with no fewer than 15 people arrested by the police for investigation. On 23 April 2013 in Nibong Tebal, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded at the site of a BN rally, injuring one. The police subsequently discovered a second IED at the site, which was later safely detonated. Both the incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim have condemned the violence. The bombings have also been condemned by Bersih who said that all politicians should condemn the violence regardless of party affiliation. Bersih has offered to monitor police reports made on political violence and incidents of electoral misconduct.
There has also been disruptions of opposition political gatherings by bikers. On 24 April 2013, a press photographer was assaulted by bikers spotted wearing 1Malaysia shirts at a gathering by DAP in Bukit Gelugor. The state BN chief has denied any connection with the incident. Additionally, there have been numerous reports of vandalism against vehicles used by opposition politicians and their supporters. In one incident, two cars belonging to a PKR candidate's daughter were damaged following an arson attempt at her residence in Klang.
A number of sexually explicit videos allegedly portraying opposition figures have surfaced in cyberspace, notably on blogs hostile towards the Pakatan Rakyat. The secretary-general of PAS, Datuk Mustafa Ali, who was implicated in one of the videos has denied his involvement, with his lawyer calling the videos "a pure slander campaign by UMNO". In turn, UMNO has sued Mustafa and his lawyer over those allegedly libelous statements. Anwar Ibrahim has also sued UMNO blogger and election candidate Wan Muhammad Azri Wan Deris for trying to implicate him in one of the explicit videos.
A number of anti-Christian billboards have appeared during the election campaign period, bringing up the ire of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, who have called for the removal of such billboards.
Users of several online news and media websites, such as independent news site Malaysiakini have claimed that several Malaysian internet service providers (ISPs) were throttling their access speeds to the sites. Several independent websites critical of the government, such as Radio Free Malaysia and Sarawak Report have experienced DDoS attacks. Malaysiakini have claimed that their Twitter account was hacked and their videos unaccessible through local ISPs.
There have been a number of reports by the opposition alleging that the incumbent government is flying in thousands of foreigners to parts of Malaysia to influence the outcome of the vote in favour of BN. BN in turn has denied any wrongdoing, saying these flights were sponsored by "friends of BN". Bersih has called the provision of flights for voters an election offence. The opposition said that many of their supporters and agents will be monitoring the situation and making citizen's arrests of foreigners who vote.
Both the incumbent Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat have released national election manifestos as one of the means to present their viewpoints to the public. Both manifestos are available in 6 languages: Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese, Tamil, Kadasan-dusun and Iban.
Both parties, through their respective manifestos have pledged or committed a number of actions should they be given the mandate to form the next government. In addition, they have also released several manifestos tailored to the needs of each specific state. The state manifestos go into greater depth about issues relevant to local residents.
The national BN manifesto pledges the following commitments to be realised within the next 5 years if and when they secure a mandate to form the next Malaysian government:
|Cost of Living|
|Affordable & Secure Housing|
|Quality Health Services|
|Infrastructure Development & Rural Transformation|
|Security & Public Safety|
|Social Safety Nets|
|Upholding Islam, Respecting Religious Freedom & Harmony|
|Public Service & Governance|
|A Global Movement of Moderates|
The national PR manifesto has outlined the actions they will take if they form the next Malaysian government.
|The Fraternity of the People|
The following actions have been pledged to be implemented immediately, in accordance with the Kuching Declaration:
|The People's Economy|
|The People's Well-Being|
|The People's Government|
Nominations for candidates were made on 20 April 2013 between 9 am and 10 am. For the first time in Malaysian electoral history, all seats will be contested and no candidate won a seat unopposed, with some candidates facing as many as 6 opponents.
|Party||Parliamentary seats contesting||State assembly seats contesting|
Postal voting for overseas Malaysians were conducted in various Malaysian representative offices around the world. According to the Election Commission (EC), 70% of 8,756 people who were eligible to vote overseas turned up to vote despite some teething problems.
Early voting was conducted for military, police personnel and their spouses in 544 polling centres throughout Malaysia. It was estimated that there were 270,000 of these voters in total. There have been several reports regarding the usage of indelible ink for early voters, with some claiming that the ink could be easily washed off. The Election Commission has promised to conduct investigations on this issue after a number of reports lodged by several opposition parties. On 2 May 2013, the EC held a public demonstration on the application of indelible ink. During this demonstration, the stain left behind by the ink was attempted to be washed off using various means, but without success. Addressing the earlier claims and reports of the stain being easily removed, EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar stated that this could be due to improper application procedures. He said that if the ink bottles were not thoroughly shook before use, the applied ink may contain insufficient quantities of silver nitrate, the compound used in the ink that leaves a permanent stain.
General voting began at 8.00 am on 5 May 2013 with a total of 13,268,002 Malaysians eligible to cast their ballots at 8,789 polling centres nationwide. Voter turnout is expected to be at an all-time high surpassing the 2008 election. As of 12 pm, 58.99% of voters have cast their ballots, nationwide. Voting closed at 5 pm however voters inside the polling stations are allowed to continue casting their ballots. Estimated turnout was 80%.
|Votes||% of vote||Seats||% of seats||+/–|
|United Malays National Organization||3,252,484||29.45||88||39.64||9|
|United Traditional Bumiputera Party||232,390||2.10||14||6.31|
|Malaysian Chinese Association||867,851||7.86||7||3.15||8|
|Sarawak People's Party||59,540||0.54||6||2.70|
|Malaysian Indian Congress||286,629||2.59||4||1.80||1|
|United Sabah Party||74,959||0.68||4||1.80||1|
|Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party||55,505||0.50||4||1.80|
|United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation||53,584||0.48||3||1.35||1|
|Malaysian People's Movement Party||191,019||1.73||1||0.45||1|
|Sarawak United People's Party||133,603||1.21||1||0.45||5|
|United Sabah People's Party||9,467||0.08||1||0.45|
|Liberal Democratic Party||13,138||0.12||0||0.00||1|
|People's Progressive Party||7,530||0.07||0||0.00|
|Democratic Action Party||1,736,601||15.71||38||17.12||10|
|People's Justice Party||2,254,211||20.39||30||13.51||1|
|Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party||1,633,199||14.77||21||9.46||2|
|Independents and others||192,890||1.75||0||0.00|
|* Net seat change of component parties is –5. Sabah Progressive Party left the National Front after the 2008 election, which accounted for 2 more seats lost.
Source: Election Commission of Malaysia
|Barisan Nasional||Pakatan Rakyat||Others||Total|
Reactions, analysis and aftermath
Najib Razak told the media the day after the election: "We have to show to the world that we are a mature democracy. Whatever happens, the decision of the people, the will of the people must be respected." He added: "After my inauguration as prime minister, I vow to honestly carry out all my obligations with full dedication. I will be truly faithful to Malaysia and will preserve, protect and defend the institution." Anwar Ibrahim reacted in calling for two days of protests in saying the win was the "worst electoral fraud in our history" and that he "call[s] upon as many Malaysians to join hands and express our rejection and disgust at the unprecedented electoral fraud committed by Najib Razak and the EC (Election Commission)."
Herizal Hazri of the Malaysia Asia Foundation said: "There is a sense of rejection within the urban Malaysian voters to accept this rhetoric. They want a more inclusive Malaysia, they want to vote for parties that represents all race groups." The opposition parties had promised to revise Malaysia's affirmative action policy which favours Malays and other indigenous groups ("Bumiputra") over the Chinese and Indian minorities. Prime Minister Najib Razak claimed that this was the reason why ethnic Chinese voted for the opposition. The most perceivable swing from the ruling coalition to the opposition, namely from the BN-affiliated MCA and Gerakan parties to the DAP, was among ethnic Chinese voters. This led to Najib claiming that the opposition had manipulated and deceived this population group and making a "Chinese tsunami" accountable for his alliance's losses. However, the claim was disputed by political analyst Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, who claimed it was more accurately, an urban swing. The geographic distribution of votes shows a considerable difference between largely urban regions with a great proportion of ethnic Chinese which mostly voted for the oppositional alliance – often by a high margin – and more rural states populated by "Bumiputra" where the governing coalition won most of its seats.
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- 13th Malaysian General Election GE13 The Star Online (English)