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The National Front (Malay: Barisan Nasional; abbrev: BN) is a right-wing political party in Malaysia that was founded in 1973 as a coalition of right-wing and centre parties. It is the largest party in the Parliament of Malaysia. Party Chairman Najib Razak has been Prime Minister of Malaysia from 3 April 2009. In state level, it is also the largest party in the 10 of 13 state legislative assemblies of Malaysia.
The Barisan Nasional employs the same inter-communal governing model of its predecessor the Alliance coalition 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 opposition parties, notably the Pakatan Rakyat & Pakatan Harapan alliances. Along with its predecessor (Alliance), it is considered the longest continuing ruling coalition party in the democratic world.
- 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 Alliance coalition formed of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC). It was founded 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, and 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 Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).
In 1973, the Alliance Party was replaced by Barisan Nasional. The Barisan Nasional, which included regional parties from Sabah and Sarawak (Sabah Alliance Party, Sarawak United Peoples' Party (SUPP), Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB)), was formed as a grand coalition of 11 parties under the leadership of the prime minister Tun Abdul Razak. 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, Barisan Nasional 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.
Although Barisan Nasional never achieved more than 67% of the popular vote in elections from 1974 until 2008, it maintained consecutive two-thirds majority of seats in the Dewan Rakyat until 2008, benefitting from Malaysia's first-past-the-post voting system.
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, and Selangor, fell to Pakatan Rakyat. Perak however was later returned via court ruling following a constitutional crisis. 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 January 2017, Barisan Nasional's member parties include:
- United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)
- Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA)
- Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC)
- Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB)
- Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP)
- Malaysian People's Movement Party (Gerakan/PGRM)
- People's Progressive Party (myPPP)
- Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
- United Sabah People's Party (PBRS)
- United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO)
- United Sabah Party (PBS)
- Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP)
- Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS)
Barisan Nasional Supreme Council
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
|Sarawak State Legislative Assembly
72 / 82Perlis State Legislative Assembly
13 / 15Sabah State Legislative Assembly
48 / 60Malacca State Legislative Assembly
21 / 28
|Pahang State Legislative Assembly
30 / 42Johor State Legislative Assembly
37 / 56Negeri Sembilan State Legislative Assembly
22 / 36
|Kedah State Legislative Assembly
20 / 36Perak State Legislative Assembly
31 / 59Terengganu State Legislative Assembly
17 / 32
|Kelantan State Legislative Assembly
12 / 45Penang State Legislative Assembly
10 / 40Selangor State Legislative Assembly
12 / 56
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|
135 / 154
|87.7%||1,287,400||60.8%||135 seats; Governing coalition||Abdul Razak Hussein|
131 / 154
|85.1%||1,987,907||57.2%||4 seats; Governing coalition||Hussein Onn|
132 / 154
|85.7%||2,522,079||60.5%||1 seats; Governing coalition||Mahathir Mohamad|
148 / 177
|83.6%||2,649,263||57.3%||16 seats; Governing coalition||Mahathir Mohamad|
127 / 180
|70.6%||2,985,392||53.4%||21 seats; Governing coalition||Mahathir Mohamad|
162 / 192
|84.4%||3,881,214||65.2%||35 seats; Governing coalition||Mahathir Mohamad|
148 / 193
|76.2%||3,748,511||56.53%||15 seats; Governing coalition||Mahathir Mohamad|
198 / 219
|90.4%||4,420,452||63.9%||51 seats; Governing coalition||Abdullah Ahmad Badawi|
140 / 222
|63.1%||4,082,411||50.27%||58 seats; Governing coalition||Abdullah Ahmad Badawi|
133 / 222
|59.9%||5,237,555||47.38%||7 seats; Governing coalition||Najib Razak|
State election results
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