2004 Malaysian general election

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2004 Malaysian general election

← 1999 21 March 2004 2008 →

All 219 seats to the Dewan Rakyat
110 seats needed for a majority
Turnout6,916,138 (73.9%)
  First party Second party Third party
  Abdullah Badawi 2007.jpg Hadi Awang (cropped).jpg DAP
Leader Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Abdul Hadi Awang Kerk Kim Hock
Party BN Barisan Alternatif DAP
Leader since 31 October 2003 (2003-10-31) 2003 December 1999
Leader's seat Kepala Batas Marang (lost seat) Kota Melaka (lost seat)
Last election 148 seats, 56.5% 42 seats, 40.2%[1] 10 seats, 12.5%
Seats won 198 8 12
Seat change Increase 50 Decrease 34 Increase 2
Popular vote 4,420,452 1,668,998 687,340
Percentage 63.9% 24.1% 9.9%
Swing Increase 7.4% Decrease 16.1% Decrease 2.6%

Prime Minister before election

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

Prime Minister-designate

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

A general election was held on Sunday, 21 March 2004 for members of the 11th Parliament of Malaysia. Voting took place in all 219 parliamentary constituencies of Malaysia, each electing one Member of Parliament to the Dewan Rakyat, the dominant house of Parliament. This is first election for Abdullah as Prime Minister since appointed for this position in 2003. State elections also took place in 505 state constituencies in 12 out of 13 states of Malaysia (except Sarawak) on the same day as Sabah took the first time election was parallel with the rest of Peninsular Malaysia.

Election results[edit]

The National Front gained a popular vote of 63.9%, but would have gained a higher vote had all seats been contested. Reports in the Malaysian media 23 March showed the Front winning 198 parliamentary seats to the combined opposition parties' 20 seats, with one independent. This is the largest majority that National Front has won since the 1978 elections.

The dominant party in the National Front, the Prime Minister's United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), won 109 seats, a gain of 32. UMNO's allies also gained seats. The Malaysian Chinese Association won 31 seats, a gain of two, and the Malaysian Indian Congress won nine seats, a gain of two.

Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) managed to retain only seven of its 27 seats. PAS ran on a platform promising an Islamic nation. The PAS opposition leader, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, lost his parliamentary seat.

Another opposition party, the People's Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Nasional) lost four of its five seats. After five recounts the party's leader, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (the wife of imprisoned former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), retained her seat with a majority of 590 votes.

The third opposition party, the Democratic Action Party, which was routed in the 1999 elections, improved its performance with the re-election of party chairman Lim Kit Siang at Ipoh Timor seat and his deputy, Karpal Singh at Bukit Gelugor seat while chairman Kerk Kim Hock lost his seat. The DAP won 12 seats and regained the official leadership of the opposition in the national parliament from PAS.

Most candidates who campaigned on platforms of Islamic issues lost their seats. This is a significant turnaround since the last election where, generally, the more "Islamic" candidates had a greater chance of winning in the Malay heartland.


Dewan Rakyat[edit]

e • d Summary of the 21 March 2004 Malaysian Dewan Rakyat election results
Party Vote Seats
Votes % Won % +/–
National Front[a] BN 4,454,215 63.85 198 90.41 Increase50
United Malays National Organisation UMNO 2,489,532 35.69 109 49.77 Increase37
Malaysian Chinese Association MCA 1,074,291 15.40 31 14.16 Increase2
Malaysian People's Movement Party Gerakan 257,663 3.69 10 4.57 Increase4
Malaysian Indian Congress MIC 221,546 3.18 9 4.11 Increase2
Sarawak United People's Party SUPP 101,869 1.46 6 2.74 Decrease1
United Traditional Bumiputera Party PBB 80,408 1.15 11 5.02 Steady
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation UPKO 55,117 0.79 4 1.83 Increase1
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party SPDP 50,350 0.72 4 1.83 New
Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak PBDS 46,292 0.66 6 2.74 Steady
United Sabah Party PBS 26,504 0.38 4 1.83 Increase1
People's Progressive Party PPP 20,129 0.29 1 0.46 Increase1
Sabah Progressive Party SAPP 16,426 0.24 2 0.91 Steady
Liberal Democratic Party LDP 8,208 0.12 0 0.00 Decrease1
United Sabah People's Party PBRS 5,880 0.08 1 0.46 Increase1
Parties in the informal coalition, Alternative Front BA 1,672,350 23.97 8 3.65 Decrease34
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party[b] PAS 1,069,569 15.33 7 3.20 Decrease20
Democratic Action Party DAP 702,243 10.07 12 5.48 Increase2
People's Justice Party[b] PKR 602,781 8.64 1 0.46 Decrease4
Sarawak National Party SNAP 28,579 0.41 0 0.00 Decrease4
State Reform Party STAR 6,270 0.09 0 0.00 Steady
United Democratic Sabah People's Power Party SETIA 2,143 0.03 0 0.00 New
Malaysian Democratic Party MDP 1,107 0.02 0 0.00 Steady
United Pasok Nunukragang National Organisation PASOK 543 0.00 0 0.00 New
Independents IND 108,096 1.55 1 0.46 Increase1
Valid votes 6,975,546
Invalid/blank votes 293,810
Total votes (voter turnout: 73.9%) 7,269,356 100.00 219 100.00 +26
Did not vote 2,486,741
Registered voters 9,756,097
Voting age population (aged 21 years and above) 13,802,493
Malaysian population 23,092,940
Source: Nohlen et al. [1]
  1. ^ Contested using dacing election symbol on the ballot papers.
  2. ^ a b Parties in the informal coalition, Alternatif Front (Barisan Alternatif). Contested using separate election symbol on the ballot papers.

Results by state[edit]

State Assemblies[edit]

Elections for the assemblies of all the Malaysian states except Sarawak were also held on 21 March. The National Front and its allies won majorities in all states except Kelantan where, despite earlier reports to the contrary, PAS retained control with a narrow majority of 24 seats to BN's 21 seats. The National Front regained control of the state of Terengganu, which it lost to PAS in 1999. The PAS opposition leader, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who lost his parliamentary seat as mentioned earlier, managed to retain his state seat.


On 2 March, the 10th national parliament and all state assemblies in Malaysia (with the exception of Sarawak) were dissolved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong upon the advice of the Prime Minister. Sarawak's last state election was held in 2001, and elections for the state assembly are not due till 2006.

The election was held nine months earlier than required by the constitution. The constitution allows that parliament has a mandate of 5 years. Elections are required to be called three months after parliament is dissolved. The government had until the end of November 2004 to call elections.

Candidates nominated on 13 March, with the National Front winning 15 seats uncontested, and another two seats after the opposing candidates withdrew. The right to withdraw was only introduced as a new rule at these elections. Under this rule candidates are allowed a three-day period to withdraw following nomination day. Of the 17 parliamentary seats won uncontested, nine were in the state of Sabah, six in Sarawak and two in Johor.

PAS won a state assembly seat Senggarang in Johor for the first time, after the National Front candidate was disqualified because she was seconded by someone who was not a registered voter in the constituency which she wanted to contest. The requirement that the seconder be registered in the same constituency was only introduced in 2004. This seat was influenced by other opposition parties to gain many state seat in 2008 contest.

Election irregularities[edit]

The elections were marred by discrepancies, which were admitted by the electoral authorities. The head of the Election Commission (Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman) made the statement "I have been in this line for so long... it should not have happened at all. There must be reasons why this happened." He has served in the election commission for the last five elections, and has stated that he intends to resign if a report on the discrepancies implicates him in the foul-ups.

Among the discrepancies were wrongly printed ballots, registered voters being unable to vote and wide discrepancies in votes in various seats upon re-counting the ballots.

In the seat of Sungai Lembing in state of Pahang, the Keadilan symbol was printed wrongly on the ballot paper for PAS candidate Idris Ahmad. Illiterate voters tend to rely on familiar party symbols for voting purposes as they are unable to read the candidate's names on the ballot. Voting was suspended for 5 hours before resuming. Polling was re-held for the seat on 28 March.[2]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Lim, Hong-Hai; Ong, Kiang-Min (2006). The 2004 General Election and the Electoral Process in Malaysia. Between Consolidation and Crisis: Elections and Democracy in Five Nations in Southeast Asia. Berlin: Lit. pp. 147–214.


External links[edit]