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The 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. The coalition's headquarters is located in the nation's capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Barisan Nasional was formed under the leadership of the prime minister Tun Abdul Razak after the 1969 Malaysian general election, and was registered as a coalition of nine political parties in 1974. It employed the same inter-communal governing model of the Alliance but on a wider scale, with up to 14 communal political parties involved in the coalition at one point. It dominated Malaysian politics for over thirty years after it was founded, but since 2008 has faced stronger challenges from an alliance of opposition parties Pakatan Rakyat.
- 1 History
- 2 Organisation
- 3 Barisan Nasional Supreme Council
- 4 Elected representatives
- 5 Barisan Nasional state governments
- 6 General election results
- 7 State election results
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The Barisan Nasional is the direct successor to the three-party (UMNO, MCA, MIC) Alliance coalition and was formed in the aftermath of the 1969 general election and the 13 May riots. The Alliance Party lost ground in the 1969 election to the opposition parties, in particular the two newly formed parties Democratic Action Party and Gerakan, as well as Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). Although the Alliance won a majority of seats, it gained less than half the popular vote, and the resulting tension between different communities led to riots and the declaration of a state of emergency. After the Malaysian Parliament reconvened in 1971, negotiations began with former opposition parties such as Gerakan and People's Progressive Party, both of which joined the Alliance in 1972, quickly followed by PAS.
In 1973, the Alliance Party was formally replaced by Barisan Nasional. The Barisan Nasional, which included regional parties from Sabah and Sarawak (Sabah Alliance Party, SUPP, PBB), was formed as a grand coalition of 11 parties. It registered in June 1974 to contest the 1974 general election, which it won with considerable success.
In 1977, PAS was expelled from the Barisan Nasional following a revolt within the Kelantan state legislature against a chief minister appointed by the federal government. Barisan Nasional nevertheless won the 1978 general election convincingly, and it continued to dominate Malaysian politics in the 1980s and 1990s despite some losses in state elections, such as the loss of Kelantan to PAS, and Sabah to Parti Bersatu Sabah. By 2003, it had grown to a coalition formed of more than a dozen communal parties. It performed particularly well in the 2004 general election, winning 198 out of 219 seats.
However, in the 2008 general elections, Barisan Nasional lost more than one-third of the 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 1969. Five state governments, Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Perak (which was later returned via court ruling following a constitutional crisis) and Selangor, fell to Pakatan Rakyat. Since 2008, the coalition has seen its non-Malay component parties greatly diminished in the Peninsula.
The losses continued in the 2013 general election, and it recorded its worst ever election result. BN regained Kedah, but lost several more seats in Parliament along with the popular vote to Pakatan. It won only 47% of the popular vote, nevertheless it managed to gain 60% of the 222 parliamentary seats, thereby retaining control of the parliament.
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.
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.
As of August 2009, Barisan Nasional's member parties include:
- United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)
- Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA)
- Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC)
- Malaysian People's Movement Party (Gerakan/PGRM)
- People's Progressive Party (PPP)
- Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB)
- Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP)
- United Sabah Party (PBS)
- Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
- United Sabah People's Party (PBRS)
- United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO)
- Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP)
- Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS)
Barisan Nasional Supreme Council
- Najib Razak (UMNO)
- Deputy Chairman
- Muhyiddin Yassin (UMNO)
- Vice Chairman
- Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (UMNO)
- Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah (UMNO)
- Women Leader
- Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (UMNO)
- Youth Leader
- Khairy Jamaluddin (UMNO)
- Executive Secretary
- Abu Khamis (UMNO)
Dewan Negara (Senate)
Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives)
Members of Parliament of the 13th Malaysian Parliament
Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Legislative Assembly)
Malaysian State Assembly Representatives
Barisan Nasional state governments
- Negeri Sembilan
General election results
|Election||Total seats won||Share of seats||Total votes||Share of votes||Outcome of election||Election leader|
|1974||87.7%||1,287,400||60.8%||135 seats; Governing coalition||Abdul Razak Hussein|
|1978||85.1%||1,987,907||57.2%||4 seats; Governing coalition||Hussein Onn|
|1982||85.7%||2,522,079||60.5%||1 seats; Governing coalition||Mahathir Mohamad|
|1986||83.6%||2,649,263||57.3%||16 seats; Governing coalition||Mahathir Mohamad|
|1990||70.6%||2,985,392||53.4%||21 seats; Governing coalition||Mahathir Mohamad|
|1995||84.4%||3,881,214||65.2%||35 seats; Governing coalition||Mahathir Mohamad|
|1999||76.2%||3,748,511||56.53%||15 seats; Governing coalition||Mahathir Mohamad|
|2004||90.4%||4,420,452||63.9%||51 seats; Governing coalition||Abdullah Ahmad Badawi|
|2008||63.1%||4,082,411||50.27%||58 seats; Governing coalition||Abdullah Ahmad Badawi|
|2013||59.9%||5,237,699||47.38%||7 seats; Governing coalition||Najib Razak|
State election results
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