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Research Report


Edited by Mohamed Nawab Bin Mohamed Osman
Copyright Date: Oct. 1, 2014
Pages: 124
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-6)
    Mohamed Nawab Bin Mohamed Osman

    The 13th Malaysian Election was dubbed the mother of all elections and was expected to be a game changer in Malaysian electoral politics. The elections turned out to be a setback for both the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalitions. Contrary to expectations that PR would eke out a win and form the next government, the opposition fell substantially short of this stated aim although it won a slim majority of the popular vote, a first for the Malaysian opposition in the country’s history. The BN failed to improve on its disappointing showing in the...

  2. (pp. 7-23)
    Afif Pasuni

    The 13th general election was dubbed by many as the election that would shape the future of the country. Days of official campaigning, which unofficially started soon after the 2008 general election, concluded with victory for the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. In terms of popular vote, this was their worst performance to date, winning only 47 per cent of the popular votes. The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)—the party that leads the BN coalition—nonetheless managed to win more seats than it did in 2008. In 2008, UMNO bagged a total of 79 parliamentary seats, while in 2013, this...

  3. (pp. 24-35)
    Choong Pui Yee

    The 13th general election in Malaysia was arguably one of the most closely-fought elections in Malaysia. The emergence of a widely popular and united opposition, Pakatan Rakyat (PR), which comprises the Peoples’ Justice Party (PKR), the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), has provided a formidable challenge to the ruling party, Barisan Nasional (BN). While PR espoused ideas of social justice, a welfare state and a needs-based policy, BN continued to highlight its track record in governing Malaysia and its service-oriented approach to voters.

    With BN monopolising the “3Ms” (media, machinery and money), conventional wisdom suggests that...

  4. (pp. 36-50)
    Oh Ei Sun

    In the 2013 Malaysian general election, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) led by Prime Minister Najib Razak had its parliamentary majority reduced from 140 won in 2008 to 133 out of a total of 222, thus failing to recapture the vaunted two-third majority needed for passing constitutional amendments. The opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR), on the other hand, managed to increase its total number of parliamentary seats from 82 seats in 2008 to 89 seats. The results are however significant in another way. PR captured nearly 51 per cent of the popular votes, and BN secured only slightly more than 47...

  5. (pp. 51-68)
    Mohamed Nawab Bin Mohamed Osman

    The above statement made by Mahfuz Omar, Vice-President of PAS, is reflective of the role reversals that were displayed in the 13th Malaysian election. Mahfuz was responding to remarks made by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed that if Lim Kit Siang, the veteran leader of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), was to win the seat of Gelang Patah in the state of Johor, there would be racial riots. The fact that Mahfuz chose to make such a remark in a rally in a Malay-majority urban area, a traditional stronghold of UMNO, is even more remarkable. Less than a decade ago,...

  6. (pp. 69-84)
    Farish A. Noor

    This chapter looks at one specific factor during the campaign for the 13th general election in Malaysia held on 5 May 2013, namely, the role played by religion—as a marker of identity and rallying-point—before, during and after the campaign. It addresses the question of how and why religion was relatively absent, or less important, during the campaign, in contrast to campaigns of the past, and asks if this was truly a landmark shift in the values and worldview of the Malaysian electorate, or whether it really signals a shift in the tactics and discourses employed by the respective...

  7. (pp. 85-103)
    Yang Razali Kassim

    The 13th general election in 2013 has accelerated the evolution of Malaysian politics away from the traditional paradigm of race and ethnicity. Some argue that the idea of “new politics” was first conceived in the late 1990s following the rupture in UMNO triggered by the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim, which gave rise to the Reformasi movement. Consistent with this argument, the trend has since gathered momentum as manifested in subsequent general elections, climaxing in the 13th general election of 5 May 2013. The road to the next general election—by 2018—is the new peak to anticipate. If it looks...