Malaysian general election, 2004

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Malaysian general election, 2004
1999 ←
21 March 2004 (2004-03-21) → 2008

All 219 seats to the Dewan Rakyat
and all 505 state legislature seats in 12 (out of 13, except Sarawak) states of Malaysia

110 seats needed for a majority
Registered 9,756,097
Turnout 6,916,138 (73.9%)
  First party Second party Third party
  Abdullah Badawi 2007.jpg P32kamaruddin3.jpg DAP
Leader Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Kamaruddin Jaafar Kerk Kim Hock
Party Barisan Nasional Barisan Alternatif DAP
Leader since 31 October 2003 (2003-10-31) 2003 September 2002 (2002-09)
Leader's seat Kepala Batas Tumpat Ipoh Timor
Last election 147 seats, 56.5% 45 seats, 40.2%[1] 10 seats, 12.5%
Seats won 198 8 12
Seat change Increase 51 Decrease 37 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
Barisan Nasional

Prime Minister-designate

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Barisan Nasional

Coat of arms of Malaysia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
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General elections were held in Malaysia on 21 March 2004. The incumbent National Front government of Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was re-elected with an increased majority.

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 on March 23 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 and his deputy, Karpal Singh. 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.


Parliamentary results[edit]

e • d Summary of the 21 March 2004 Malaysian Dewan Rakyat election results
Political Party Votes % of vote Seats % of seats +/–
National Front BN 4,420,452 63.9 198 90.4 +51
United Malays National Organisation UMNO 2,483,249 35.9 109 49.8 +38
Malaysian Chinese Association MCA 1,074,230 15.5 31 14.2 +2
United Traditional Bumiputera Party PBB 383,664 5.5 11 5.0 +5
Malaysian People's Movement Party Gerakan 257,763 3.7 10 4.6 +4
Malaysian Indian Congress MIC 221,546 3.2 9 4.1 +2
Sarawak United People's Party SUPP 6 2.7
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party SPDP 4 1.8
United Sabah Party PBS 4 1.8
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation UPKO 4 1.8
Sabah Progressive Party SAPP 2 0.9
United Sabah People's Party* PBRS 1 0.5
People's Progressive Party PPP 1 0.5
Liberal Democratic Party LDP
Alternative Front BA 1,668,998 24.1 8 3.7 -24
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party PAS 1,051,480 15.2 7 3.2 -20
People's Justice Party PKR 617,518 8.9 1 0.5 -4
Democratic Action Party DAP 687,340 9.9 12 5.5 +2
Independents and others 139,438 2.1 1 0.5% -2
Valid votes 6,916,138
Invalid/blank votes 293,810
Total votes (voter turnout: 73.9%) 7,209,948 100.0 219 100.0 +26
Did not vote 2,546,149
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]

State elections[edit]

Elections for the assemblies of all the Malaysian states except Sarawak were also held on 22 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 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.

Election irregularities[edit]

The elections were marred by discrepancies, which were admitted by the electoral authorities. The head of the Election Commission (Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul 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 (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]


  • 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. 


  1. ^ 32 seats at dissolution
  2. ^ "Sg Lembing: Re-vote on March 28 after logo debacle", Malaysiakini

External links[edit]