The Numbers on Malaysia’s 14th General Election

The 14th General Election (GE14), held on May 9, saw the first-ever change in ruling government. Compared with the last general election, the outgoing ruling government, BN, suffered a historic loss of 55 parliamentary seats, gaining only 79 seats in GE14.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition and its ally, Parti Warisan (Warisan), on the other hand, won 121 parliamentary seats, with a slim majority to form a government. PAS, being separated from the PH coalition in GE14, consolidated its winning power in Kelantan and Terengganu by gaining 18 seats in parliament. Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) took one parliamentary seat in Sabah while other parliamentary seats went to three independent candidates.

Looking at the breakdown by states, the PH alliance made significant gains in Kedah, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak. Johor, in particular, recorded the highest increase in parliamentary seats from 19.2% in the last election to 69.2% in GE14. In Sabah, with Warisan as an ally, PH added nine seats to its tally, marking an increase of 42.3% in seats (Figure 1).

BN, however, saw a tremendous loss of seats in all states except Kelantan, where it kept the same number of seats won in the previous election. As for PAS, in addition to Kelantan and Terengganu, they also stamped their influence in Kedah by winning a total of three parliamentary seats.

In Penang, PH wrested the parliamentary seat of Balik Pulau, which was previously won by BN, resulting in the coalition winning 81.8% of Penang’s parliamentary seats in GE14.

In terms of total votes cast, PH obtained 48.1% compared to BN’s 33.7%, with PAS attaining 16.9% of votes. The political scene in Malaysia is largely dominated by these three factions, with a paltry 1.3% of votes going to the other opposition parties and independents.

Within the BN alliance, there is a large reliance on Umno’s performance, with the party dominating BN’s vote share by 63.2%. In fact, the second biggest party in terms of vote share within the coalition is MCA with only 14.6%. In contrast, the PH coalition indicates a more balanced vote share with none of the parties or its allies having a vote share of more than 50%, as seen in Figure 2.

Looking at female representation in parliament, there is a slight increase of 4.0% in the number of female parlimentarians, accounting for 32 members in GE14 (Figure 3). With Kasthuriraani Patto retaining her seat in Batu Kawan and Nurul Izzah Anwar winning her seat in Permatang Pauh, Penang sees an increase in its female parliamentarians. The greatest gains are seen in KL and Melaka, enabling women to surpass the minimum 30% representation.

Kedah and Perak showed some progress, managing to elect one female parliamentarian respectively when there were none elected previously. In fact, female representation in parliament was either maintained or increased across all states, with the exception of Negeri Sembilan and Terengganu, where no women were elected – a trend that had continued from the 13th general election.

At state level, the trend of BN’s unprecedented loss continued. Out of the 13 states they had held in the last election, they only retained Perlis and Pahang, losing six states to PH and Terengganu to PAS. The former ruling coalition’s biggest losses were in Sabah and Kedah, where they saw a huge decrease in the number of seats, with the proportion falling from 81.7% to 47.9%, and from 51.2% to 8.3% respectively. They also took a heavy loss in Johor, losing 20 seats and seeing the percentage drop from 67.9% to 33.4%.

In addition to winning an additional six states, albeit without two-thirds majority in government, PH convincingly strengthened their hold on Selangor and Penang (Figure 4).

PAS, on the other hand, exerted stronger influence in Kelantan and managed to form government in Terengganu, with the mandate of a two-third majority.

Looking into the state results for Penang, DAP is the major winner in the state, garnering 58.2% of the vote share in Penang and gaining 19 out of 40 seats in the state government (Figure 5). This is followed by its coalition partner, PKR, with a vote share of 35.9% – equivalent to 14 seats. Subsequently, Amanah and Bersatu were able to gain two seats each. Therefore, PH now has a super majority of 37 out of 40 seats in the Penang state assembly. The remaining three seats were won by Umno (two) and PAS (one).

Lastly, despite gaining 12.5% vote share in Penang, Gerakan suffered a catastrophic loss and will have no representation in the state assembly – which has been the case since the 12th General Election.

The overall increment for state assemblywomen is minute – a mere 0.6% – which is a numerical increase of three assemblywomen (Figure 6). Most states, including Penang, which had elected six assemblywomen, merely maintained their proportion of female representation from the last general election.

However, more women were elected into the state assemblies of Perlis, Kedah and Sabah. In contrast, Selangor, the state with the highest number of state assemblywomen, saw a decrease of three members in its elected female representatives.

Terengganu remains the only state in Malaysia that has no female representation in its political sphere, be it in parliament or the state assembly.

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