Libmonster ID: UK-1443
Author(s) of the publication: V. A. POGADAEV


Candidate of Historical Sciences

Malaysia Keywords:general election 2013, Najib Abdul RazakMuhillin Yasin, Anwar IbrahimNurul Izza Ibrahim

General elections were held in Malaysia on 5 May 2003. 13.3 million people participated in them . the number of voters, including 3.7 million, voted for the first time. The battle was mainly fought between the ruling National Front and the opposition People's Bloc for 222 seats in the federal Parliament and 505 seats in state legislatures (with the exception of Sarawak, where local elections were held in 2011). Most polling stations were operating normally and voting was mostly calm. For the first time, indelible ink was used in elections , which is applied to the hand of the voters who voted.

With 133 seats in Parliament, 1 the National Front, which has effectively ruled Malaysia since 1957 (1957-1974 under the name of the Union Party 2), received a new mandate to govern the country for another five years, retaining control of most of the country's states.3 Moreover, he managed to subdue the state of Kedah, which had previously been in the hands of the opposition.


Despite this, the position of the National Front has slightly deteriorated compared to the previous elections. He entered Parliament, losing seven seats. The goal that he set on the eve of the elections-to get two-thirds of the vote - was not achieved. All five aides to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, four ministers and four deputy ministers of the Federal Government were defeated in the election. And most importantly, the total number of people who voted for the front dropped to 48%. This has happened only once in the history of Malaysia - in 1969.5

The opposition, represented by the People's Bloc, still controls the important states of Selangor, Penang and Kelantan from the point of view of the country's development. Without winning, it nevertheless improved its representation in the Legislative Assemblies of several states, including in Johor, which has always been considered an impregnable stronghold of the front.

The trend of strengthening the opposition, which began in the 2008 elections, continued, although the task of gaining a majority in parliament and forming a government was also unfulfilled. It won 89 seats in Parliament (7 more than in the previous election) and lost control of the state of Kedah. 6 However, it can be proud of the fact that 52% of voters preferred it over the ruling National Front.7

The activity of the population has become a record: 80% of registered voters came to the polling stations despite rain and thunderstorms that broke out in the afternoon of 8. Many Malaysian citizens working abroad (in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and even Europe and the United States) chose to come home to vote, although they could have done so at Malaysian embassies. Some of my friends in their 40s and 50s, who had never participated in an election before, hurried to register and vote this time. This is the undoubted merit of the campaign of both blocs and the public organization Bersih ("Chistota"), which, through its activities for the purity of elections, contributed to the awareness of voters of the importance of elections for determining the future direction of the country's development.


The National Front, despite strong opposition pressure, was able to consolidate its ranks and attract almost half of the country's population to its side, focusing on what had been achieved.9 It is no coincidence that the front's pre-election slogan is " We have done everything we promised." The country's economy shows relatively good results: in 2012, GDP growth was 5.6%1 (<url>). A transformation program is being actively implemented within the framework of Vision 2020, a plan developed under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and aimed at turning Malaysia into an industrially developed state by 2020. Cheap homes are being built extensively, State aid is being provided to farmers and fishermen, and the poorest families are receiving benefits.

Crucial to the election results, however, was the state resource that the ruling front possessed and the opposition did not have. All media outlets, including the central press and television, which are under the government's monopoly control, were placed in the service of promoting the front's achievements and discrediting the opposition, whose victory, in their opinion, would be "a disaster for the country" .11

The press tried to show the lack of unity in the People's Bloc, consisting mainly of the Malay People's Justice Party, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party and mainly the Chinese Democratic Action Party, the impossibility of fulfilling the promises of the opposition, and intimidate the Malays with the" Chinese threat " represented by the Democratic Action Party.12 Attempts to discredit opposition leaders, especially Anwar Ibrahim, have continued, including by accusing him of sodomy, although the high Court has long since cleared him of any such slander.13

The ruler was inexhaustible

page 26

ad block and financial resource. On the eve of the elections, promises of new allocations to the "One Malaysia" program* - a key one in the activities of the ruling front (lump-sum payments, vouchers for books to students, funds for writers ' organizations, etc.) were showered, leaflets and brochures, posters, flags, banners were published in millions of copies, transport (campaign cars, buses) was widely used for the election campaign. "The money fell like confetti," 14 noted one local political observer. The National Front's election manifesto was ironically called the "money manifesto" (from the English money fest).


The opposition, which operated under the slogan "People's Bloc-the hope of the people", emphasized the achievements achieved in the states under its control (higher rates of development than in the whole country, active construction, including houses for the poor, saving money, etc.), but the main emphasis was on plans to change the country's structure. In her election manifesto, she promised to introduce free education in state universities and basic medical care, abolish road use fees, and reduce the prices of gasoline, electricity, and passenger cars.15 Of course, this also attracted voters to them.

An important factor was the charisma of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who suffered in the past from the ruling regime, but came out of all the troubles confident in himself and in the rightness of his cause. Young people were particularly active in favor of the opposition, campaigning under the slogans " We want change! "and"Now or never!".


The day after the election, the leader of the National Front, Najib Abdul Razak, was sworn in as Prime Minister by the Supreme Ruler of Malaysia. He said that he was concerned about signs of polarization in the country's population, because, in his opinion, the Chinese community voted mainly for the opposition, and the Malay community voted for the ruling coalition. Calling this phenomenon the "Chinese tsunami", he stressed that he considers it necessary to develop a program of "national reconciliation" 16. Political observers regarded this statement as a failure of the "One Malaysia" policy, because the elections showed the presence of "two Malaysia": one of them supports the government, and the other - the opposition 17.

But the opposition does not want to recognize the legitimacy of the election results and "reconcile" with "corrupt officials", accusing the National Front of numerous falsifications. Many of her supporters have replaced their Facebook photos with black squares, saying that "democracy in Malaysia is dead." On May 6, they demonstrated their opposition in major shopping malls by wearing black shirts and duct tape over their mouths. Thousands of people rallied across the country to protest against election fraud (in Penang, the Popular Front managed to gather 150 thousand people). On May 8, Anwar Ibrahim addressed a rally of thousands at a stadium in opposition-controlled Selangor. The most popular political joke was the one about democracy: "Dad, what is democracy? "I don't know, son. We live in Malaysia."

The opposition claims that the ruling coalition actively resorted to bribing voters, especially in rural areas, and granted citizenship to foreign workers (especially Muslims from Bangladesh) so that they could vote for the National Budget.

* For more information, see: Pogadaev V. A. One Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak // Asia and Africa Today, 2009, No. 12 (Editor's note).

page 27

the front, transferred bribed voters from one district to another in order to secure victory there. Finally, the votes of military and police officers who had voted a week earlier were randomly used, attributing them during the vote count to critical districts from the point of view of victory. In addition, the "indelible" ink turned out to be washable, and in some polling stations at the time of counting votes, the electricity suddenly went out, and then new boxes with ballots mysteriously appeared.18

According to political observers, some of these accusations are not without foundation. At the same time, it is indicated that almost all public opinion polls showed the advantage of the opposition, although insignificant: having no means to bribe voters, it nevertheless gathered hundreds of thousands of people for its pre-election rallies. Thus, according to a survey by the Center for Democracy and Elections at the University of Malaya, 43% of respondents would like to see Anwar Ibrahim as the next Prime Minister, and 39% - Najib Abdul Razak.19 According to the results of the independent Merdeka public opinion center conducted on April 28-May 2, 2013, 42% of respondents preferred the Popular Bloc, and 41% - the National Front.20


Apparently, the country is developing a two-pole (two-party) system. On the one hand, the National Front, which is also a bloc organization (unites 13 parties with the leading role of the United Malay National Organization - OMNO), and on the other - the People's Bloc. But unlike the National Front, which consists of parties built on the national (communalist) principle, the People's Bloc formally includes multinational parties that are open to all citizens of Malaysia. This reflects an important shift in the consciousness of Malaysians, who previously believed that their interests can only be defended by organizations created on the basis of nationality.

The divide between voters was not along ethnic lines (Chinese-Malay), but between urban and rural populations. Citizens even in states that remained under the control of the ruling coalition voted for the opposition (for example, in Sarawak's capital Kuching).

If the position of the ruling National Front is somewhat weakened and the opposition is strengthened, the further development of the situation in the country will be characterized by elements of instability, as the government will have to be distracted by countering the activities of the opposition and its supporting organizations, for example, Bersikh.

The new cabinet announced on May 15 is dominated by ministers from OMNO (20 out of 31). Its National Front partner, the Chinese Association of Malaysia, is not represented in the Government at all. An unbalanced cabinet is also likely to be a destabilizing factor in the country's future development.21

It is likely that the leader of the National Front, Najib Abdul Razak, will soon have to step down from his post, giving way to his deputy Muhiddin Yassin. Najib's mentor, former Prime Minister Mahathir, said before and after the current election that if the front could not improve on its results, Najib would have to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Abdul Badawi, who left the post of Prime Minister after the 2008 election, taking responsibility for his party's inconclusive victory. 22. A Reuters columnist notes in this regard:"The 59-year-old prime minister may come under intense pressure from conservatives in his own party for failing to improve the party's electoral performance, despite the good performance of the economy and the allocation of 2.6 billion ringgit (about $870 million) for payments to the poorest families." 23

It is possible that Anwar Ibrahim will also leave politics. He has previously stated that he will retire from politics and take up teaching activities if the People's Bloc does not win the elections. In this case, the opposition may be led by his daughter Nurul Izza Ibrahim, who, despite her youth, has already established herself as a talented politician, having won the last two elections in the very difficult Lembah Pantai constituency in Kuala Lumpur. And then she will have a chance to become the country's first female prime minister.

The elections are over. Passions among voters did not immediately subside. But the workday started again.


Pogadaev V. 2 The Malay world (Brunei. Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore). Lingvostranovedcheskiy slovar ' [Linguistic and Cultural Dictionary], Vostochnaya kniga Publ., 2012, p. 94.


4 Berita Harian, 29.04.2013.

Slimming John. 5 Malaysia: Death of a Democracy. L., John Murray, 1969, ix.


7 Malaysian Insider, 6.05.2013.

8 Voters were most active in the past in the 1964 elections, when the turnout was 78.9%. The key issue in the election at that time was the creation of Malaysia in 1963.

9 Berita Harian, 08.04.2013.

10 Hopes, Realities, Risks. World Economic Outlook. April, 2013, p. 56 -

11 Berita Harian. 19.04.2013.

12 Utusan inciting racial sentiments to hide GE13 fraud, says Anwar // Malaysian Insider, 7.05.2013.

13 Berita Harian, 15.04.2013.

14 The winners and losers of GE13 // Malaysian Insider, 06.05.2013.


16 GE13: Najib - We will undertake national reconciliation // The Star, 06.05.2013.

17 In BN win Najib faces tug-of-war between two Malaysia // Malaysian Insider, 6.05.2013.

18 Malaysia: Outrage Over Election Outcome - 2013/05/06/malaysia-outrage-over-election-outcome/

19 UMcedel Survey // Malaysian Insider, 25.04.2013. Najib Abdul Razak found these data incorrect, which he stated / / Malaysian Insider, 28.04.2013.

20 Malaysia Kini, 3.05.2013.

21 Khairv, Waytha sertai 'kabinet berimbang' Najib // Malaysia Kini, 15.05.2013.

22 Dr M questions BN strategists, says Umno to decide Najib's fate // Malaysian Insider, 7.05.2013.

23 Reuter, 5.05.2013.


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