Monday, March 10, 2008

Barisan Nasional Lost More Votes Than Seats In Elections Fiasco

The ruling coalition's dramatic losses in Malaysia's general elections are much worse than they appear.

An Associated Press analysis and calculations by independent analysts showed that the coalition's share of the popular vote is barely half - about 51 percent of the 7.9 million votes cast. Nevertheless, the ruling National Front took 63 percent of the seats at stake in Saturday's vote - 140 of 222 seats.

"As far as the parliamentary results are concerned, the ruling coalition should have done even more badly than what they achieved," said Mohammad Agus Yusoff, a political science professor at the National University of Malaysia. Take away the sparsely populated states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo island - where the National Front won all but two seats - and the coalition's popular vote dips to 49.8 percent in peninsular Malaysia, the country's political and economic mainland.

Opposition groups have long blamed gerrymandering for such discrepancies between popular vote and seats in parliament, claiming the Election Commission distorts polling districts to favor the government. For example, the administrative capital of Putrajaya, a government stronghold, sends one lawmaker to Parliament even though its voter population is about 5,000. But Seputeh constituency in neighboring Kuala Lumpur, with more than 76,000 voters gets only one seat in Parliament, which the opposition Democratic Action Party won.

Authorities, however, deny gerrymandering occurs, saying constituencies are demarcated according to size.

The National Front's popular vote percentage has always been significantly lower than its share of parliament seats might indicate.
In the previous election in 2004, the National Front secured 91 percent of the 219 parliamentary seats with only 64 percent of the popular vote.

This year's results were the National Front's worst performance in the 51 years it has been in power. It has kept at least a two-thirds parliamentary majority in every election except in 1969, when it won 66 percent of the seats.

The opposition increased its share of parliamentary seats from 19 to 82 and also won control of five of Malaysia's 13 states, including Selangor and Penang, the two most industrialized states.

While the National Front retains a simple majority, the election results are expected to give the opposition a much greater voice in national politics, shaking the ruling coalition's decades-long grip on power.
By denying the government a two-thirds majority, the opposition will be able to block the government from amending the constitution, which has led to contentious decisions on judicial and religious policies in the past.

The ruling coalition fared worst in Kuala Lumpur, the country's financial capital, with 38 percent of the vote going to the National Front.

The results underscore deep disaffection among minority ethnic Chinese and Indians, who total only about one-third of Malaysia's 27 million people but live predominantly in the states where the opposition made surprisingly strong inroads.

"There is great disfavor in the urban population that we can see in the popular vote, which is more reflective of public sentiment," said Tricia Yeoh, director of the Center for Public Policy Studies think tank.
Initial estimates have indicated only around 35 percent of ethnic Chinese voted for the National Front, down from 65 percent in 2004, Yeoh said. About 47 percent of Indians supported the coalition, compared to 82 percent previously.

Ethnic Chinese and Indians have increasingly griped about discrimination - particularly an affirmative action system that gives Malays preference in jobs, business and education. Urban Malaysians, including Malays, are also frustrated over rising prices and crime.

The ruling coalition's share of votes from the ethnic Malay Muslim majority seem to have dipped less severely from 63 percent in 2004 to 58 percent this time, Yeoh said.
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Anonymous Manickavsagam said...

This is good news for the Barisan Rakyat! It means that more seats will be available at the next election. But we must all ensure that our MPs & MLAs start work now for the next GE.Some of our seats were won with small margins. We must turn those into 'safe' seats by helping the rakyat who are our fellow Malaysians. BN will never change, anyway.

6:50 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malay votes for the BA is temporary. It will be withdrawn if the elected candidates do not perform or if the DAP continue to insult their religion or racial background. So do not be too elated.

Muslim Malay

8:09 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Guy in the glass said...

After reading the stats, I now think the result is not that skewed. The perception of gerrymandering appears to be from the inclusion of seats from Sabah and Sarawak. Here are the math.

BN seats = 140. Seats in Sabah and Sarawak = 54.
BN seats in Peninsula = 86

BA seats = 82. Seats in Sabah and Sarawak = 2.
Seats in Peninsula = 80

Percentage of votes for BN in Peninsula = 49.8% (based on AP' stats)which we can take as an even split with BA.

Given that the seats difference is less than 10%, this is pretty close for a "first past the post" system of election.

So while we do have electorates with huge difference, it appeared to have neutralised itself in this GE. Both BN and BA won an even spread of seats.

While we should correct his for future elections, at least for Peninsula, BN had not really benefitted.


9:17 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plus the 300,000 Malaysian expatriates denied by the embassies to vote, the % shall b around 30%+ only.

From Doha

2:58 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the constituencies remain status quo with another 5% swing, the BA would be in power in the GE13.

Without the 2/3 majority, BN would not be able to relineate the constituencies to their favour anymore.

Need we celebrate now.

3:03 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pak ZZZ just have to appoint SIL to the cabinet to destroy BN in the GE13. Hope he would do just that.

3:05 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New ministry in Tok Lah's cabinet: Minister-in-charge-of-fixing-Elections to be held by KayJay

7:53 AM GMT+8  

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