Malaysian general election, 2013
A general election was held on Sunday, 5 May 2013 for members of the 13th Parliament of Malaysia. Voting took place in all 222 parliamentary constituencies of Malaysia, each electing one Member of Parliament to the Dewan Rakyat, the dominant house of Parliament. State elections also took place in 505 state constituencies in 12 out of 13 states (excluding Sarawak) on the same day.
All 222 seats to the Dewan Rakyat
112 seats needed for a majority
Results in parliamentary Electoral districts
The incumbent right-wing Barisan Nasional led by Prime Minister Najib Razak won a second term against the opposition centre-left Pakatan Rakyat led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, after Barisan Nasional formed a majority government at a federal level. Barisan Nasional won 133 seats in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat and 47.38% of the vote whereas the informal coalition, Pakatan Rakyat contesting under a different election symbol, saw a slight increase in both support and seats, winning 50.87% of the popular vote and 89 seats. This was the best performance shown by the opposition bloc against the federal ruling Barisan Nasional, and the first time Barisan Nasional won less of the popular vote than the opposition. Because Barisan Nasional nonetheless won more parliamentary seats than the opposition, the elections were followed by protests and accusations of gerrymandering.
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.
On 10 April 2013, the Election Commission of Malaysia announced that 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 was also announced by the Election Commission. Official campaigning began on 20 April, which allowed for a 15-day campaigning period. Postal voting for eligible overseas Malaysians was announced to happen on 28 April 2013. Malaysian representative offices would open on that day for this purpose from 9 am to 6 pm local time. Offices in London and Melbourne would close at 8 pm instead, for the number of postal voters registered in those cities exceeded 1,000.
Malaysia is one of the most ethnically diverse countries, with a majority Malay population in addition to Chinese and Indian minorities, so the political parties are also diverse. Parties engage ethnic divisions, and conflicts over power play out between political parties that represent specific ethnic groups. According to the author Lim Hong Hai, writing in 2002, “over 80 per cent of Malaysia’s population of over 23 million is found in Peninsular Malaysia, where the Malays form the largest ethnic group followed by the Chinese and Indians. All these ethnic groups are minorities in Sabah and Sarawak, where native ethnic groups other than the Malays make up about 60 per cent and 50 per cent of the population, respectively.”
The Federation of Malaya was composed of 11 states in the Malay Peninsula that gained independence from Britain in 1957, and two states from the Borneo Island, Sabah and Sarawak which became members of the Federation of Malaya in 1963.
Ruling party, Barisan Nasional (BN) consists of 13 parties and has 137 seats in the parliament. In history, BN has dominated the political framework and easily won each election since the first national vote in 1959.
The incumbent Barisan Nasional coalition 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.
Following their losses, then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced on 8 October 2008 that he was stepping down, 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.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has 76 seats in the Malaysian Parliament and is composed of three large parties. Pakatan Rakyat 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.
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 state legislative assembliesEdit
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.
The 222 members of the Dewan Rakyat, the dominant house of Parliament, were elected in single-member constituencies using first-past-the-post voting. In the 2013 general election, 11.05 million people voted which was approximately 85 percent of registered voters in total, and it was the highest rate that Malaysia had ever gotten in their electoral history.
Malaysia does not practice compulsory voting and automatic voter registration. The voting age is 21 although the age of majority in the country is 18. The election was conducted by the Election Commission of Malaysia.
Even before the dissolution of Parliament, both the incumbent BN and Pakatan Rakyat 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 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 also saw a number of new measures introduced that are intended to improve the electoral process.
Since the 2008 general election a Parliament Select Committee was formed to make recommendations to improve the country's electoral process. The general election in 2013 brought about the introduction of Indelible ink to prevent voters from voting more than once. The indelible ink was mooted for use during the elections in 2008 but was scrapped by the Election Commission at the last minute. However, it was a source of controversy as reports of voters claiming that the indelible ink could be easily washed off were circulated in the media.
There was also 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 introduced for the first time postal voting for Malaysians who resided overseas. However, these came with conditions, among them being that overseas Malaysians have to have been in Malaysia a number of times in the last five years. Overseas Malaysians residing in Singapore, southern Thailand, Brunei or Kalimantan in Indonesia were also not qualified to register as postal voters but had to return to their constituency if they were to cast their ballots.
The EC also permitted 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 arosed was 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 contested 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 was the only seat without a BN candidate in this election.
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 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:
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 announced its intention to replace the criticised New Economic Policy which they claim was discriminatory and only benefited certain groups of people, such as UMNO-connected individuals. Another main election promise they brought up was to cut the amount of spending wastages and the usage of 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 has allegedly been mismanaging their operations. They have promised to give free water for the poor and unfortunate in the state of Selangor.
PR also promised to close down the Lynas Advance Materials Plant situated in Kuantan, Pahang if it is deemed unsafe. This 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 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, that due to technical glitches in the party polls, several of DAP's members were requested to attend an inquiry on 18 April 2013. This could have endangered DAP's chance to contest in the general election due to fears that the party might be deregistered. DAP had mulled the intention for their candidates to contest under the banner of PKR and PAS, butreceived assurance from the ROS that their symbol could 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 national PR manifesto has outlined the actions they will take if they form the next Malaysian government.
The election also brought in the entry of many third parties that influenced 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, contested in several seats in Peninsular Malaysia. Currently, there are 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) contested 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 brought up was 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 fights 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.
Nominations for candidates were made on 20 April 2013 between 9am and 10am. For the first time in Malaysian electoral history, all seats were contested and no candidate won a seat unopposed, with some candidates facing as many as 6 opponents.
|Party||Parliamentary seats contested||State assembly seats contested|
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.
Opposition political gatherings were disrupted 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.
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%.
|United Malays National Organisation||UMNO||3,252,484||29.42||88||39.64||9|
|Malaysian Chinese Association||MCA||867,851||7.85||7||3.15||8|
|Malaysian Indian Congress||MIC||286,629||2.59||4||1.80||1|
|United Traditional Bumiputera Party||PBB||232,390||2.10||14||6.31|
|Malaysian People's Movement Party||Gerakan||191,019||1.73||1||0.45||1|
|Sarawak United People's Party||SUPP||133,603||1.21||1||0.45||5|
|United Sabah Party||PBS||74,959||0.68||4||1.80||1|
|Sarawak People's Party||PRS||59,540||0.54||6||2.70|
|Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party||SPDP||55,505||0.50||4||1.80|
|United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation||UPKO||53,584||0.48||3||1.35||1|
|Liberal Democratic Party||LDP||13,138||0.12||0||0.00||1|
|United Sabah People's Party||PBRS||9,467||0.09||1||0.45|
|People's Progressive Party||PPP||7,530||0.07||0||0.00|
|Parties in the informal coalition, Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact)||PR||5,623,984||50.87||89||40.09||7|
|Democratic Action Party[b]||DAP||1,736,267||15.71||38||17.12||10|
|People's Justice Party[b]||PKR||2,254,328||20.39||30||13.51||1|
|Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party[b]||PAS||1,633,389||14.78||21||9.46||2|
|State Reform Party||STAR||45,386||0.41||0||0.00|
|Pan-Malaysian Islamic Front||Berjasa||31,835||0.29||0||0.00|
|Sarawak Workers Party||SWP||15,630||0.14||0||0.00|
|Sabah Progressive Party[c]||SAPP||10,099||0.09||0||0.00||2|
|Love Malaysia Party||PCM||2,129||0.02||0||0.00|
|Homeland Human's Wellbeing Party||KITA||623||0.01||0||0.00|
|Malaysian United People's Party||MUPP||257||0.00||0||0.00|
|Total votes (voter turnout: 84.84%)||11,257,147||100.00||222||100.00|
|Did not vote||2,010,855|
|Voting age population (aged 21 years and above)||17,883,697|
- Contested using dacing election symbol on the ballot papers.
- Parties in the informal coalition, People's Pact (Pakatan Rakyat). Contested using separate election symbol on the ballot papers.
- 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.
According to the author of the document "13th General Election in Malaysia: Overview and Summary," Khoo Boo Teik, "At the national level, PR gained a significantly higher proportion of the popular vote than BN. In all Parliamentary contests, PR obtained 50.8 per cent of the popular vote compared to BN’s 47.38 per cent. As in past elections, however, its domination of a gerrymandered first-past-the-post system with pronounced constituency malapportionment gave BN a disproportionately high share of Parliamentary seats." 
Results by stateEdit
|Summary of the 5 May 2013 Malaysian Dewan Rakyat election results by state|
|Barisan Nasional||Pakatan Rakyat||Independent and others||Total|
Reactions, analysis and aftermathEdit
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.
On 8 May, Anwar led a rally in the Kelana Jaya football stadium near Kuala Lumpur. According to online sources that support PR, 120,000 people participated. Since the stadium usually can hold approximately 25,000 people, skeptics estimated that the number of participants ranged from 64,000 to 69,000. PR supporters claimed that the election was a sham.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2013 General Election in Malaysia.|
- Official Election Commission Of Malaysia Website (in Malay)
- Official Portal Of The 2013 Malaysian General Election (in Malay)
- Dashboard PRU13 for the latest election results (in Malay)
- Official candidates list (in Malay)
- Voting Guide, Candidates List & Live Social Feed howtovotemalaysia.org (in English)
- Undi.info:MALAYSIAN ELECTION DATA，powered by Malaysiakini (in English)
- 13th Malaysian General Election GE13 The Star Online (in English)
- James Chin (2015). "The ‘Pek Moh’ Factor and the Sarawak Parliamentary Seats" in Johan Savaranamuttu, Lee Hock Guan, Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman (eds.) Coalitions in Collision: Malaysia's 13th General Elections (KL & Singapore: ISEAS & SIRD) pp. 181–198