Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Malaysia’s general election ushers in a new political landscape

By Murray Hunter - posted Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Malaysia's general election results indicate a number of trends that have shaped the future political landscape of the nation. Within the election results, where no coalition grouping can by themselves commend enough numbers to form a simple majority, there will have to be some form of inter-dependent politics, in order for any government to be formed.

There were not uniform trends, as different parts of the country voted in different ways. Those politicians who didn't perform well or were traitors to their party, were severely punished. These include Azmin Ali and Zuraidah Kamaruddin, who played a leading role in the Sheraton Putsch, and Maszlee Malik who performed very poorly as education minister.

With a turnout of 75 percent, there were no 'give-aways' before the results were released about which coalition would benefit. A low turnout was expected to favour the Barisan Nasional, while a high turnout was expected to favour the opposition, Pakatan Harapan. Instead, the turnout didn't favour any group, with the youth vote not being the game-changer the opposition had hoped for.


In fact, the overall percentage vote for Pakatan Harapan declined. The Democratic Action Party (DAP) which held 47 seats before the election, won 40 this time around, with the percentage of its vote falling from 19.94 in 2018, to 18 percent in this election. Hardest hit was Anwar Ibrahim's Party Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), which lost 11 seats. With 31 seats, the percentage of PKR vote dropped from 18.92 to 14 percent. The third member Amanah lost 3 seats, gaining 8 in this election, and UPKO gained one seat, winning 2 seats.

What makes the Pakatan Harapan coalition the largest grouping heading into the new parliament is not its outstanding electoral performance, but rather the split in the vote within the Malay heartlands.

The Malay heartlands was the territory of the Barisan Nasional (BN), led by caretaker Ismail Sabri Yaakob, and Perikatan Nasional (PN), led by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin. The BN had dominated this section of the electoral map ever since independence. The Party Se-Islam Malaysia (PAS), had built a foothold, winning 18 seats in 2018, and Bersatu, under the leadership of Mahathir Mohamed in 2018 was able to take 13 seats from UMNO, the dominating member of the BN.

UMNO's dominance of the Malay heartlands this time round dropped from 54 seats to 20 on the peninsula, with an additional 7 won in Sabah. Umno's vote fell from 20.9 percent in 2018, to just 12 percent.

The real winner of the night, that many pundits were expecting over the last week was Perikatan Nasional (PN). Muhyiddin Yasin's Bersatu went from 13 seats to 24 seats, going from 5.95 to 11 percent of the vote. PAS, led by Abdul Hadi Awang, gained a massive 31 seats, now with 49 seats in the new parliament. The PAS vote has risen from 16.82 to 22 percent. PAS is now the senior party in the PN coalition, and Abdul Hadi is a candidate for prime minster.

Over in Sarawak, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), which already governs the state won 22 out of 31 parliamentary seats. This is up from 19 in 2018. GPS has held meetings with bot PH leaders Anwar Ibrahim and Anthony Loke, and separately the leaders of PN, Muhyiddin Yassin and Abdul Hadi about forming a government.


The political landscape of Sabah is now clearly divided between 3 groupings. UMNO Sabah has 7 seats, The GRS Sabah has 6 seats, and Warisan has 3, with the remainder held by DAP 2, PKR 1, and Bersatu 1. It looks like Sabah, unlike Sarawak will not rid the state from the influence of peninsula based political parties.

The state of Perlis experienced an electoral tsunami from PN, wiping out the BN state government, where all state parliamentarians, including the chief minister Azlan Man, lost their seats. This occurred after dropped UMNO MP Shahidan Kassim, promised a wipe out of BN from the state. Both Pahang and Perak, where state elections were also held, hang in the balance with the probably BN-PN government.

UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi forced the nation into an election during the monsoon season. His poor leadership has led to widespread calls for him to resign. If Zahid resigns, he will be open to the forthcoming prosecutions against him, with the absence of political protection. Although Zahid just scrapped in to his seat of Bagan Datuk by less than 400 votes, he is now personally open to the full weight of the law.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

2 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Murray Hunter is an associate professor at the University Malaysia Perlis. He blogs at Murray Hunter.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Murray Hunter

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Murray Hunter
Article Tools
Comment 2 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy