KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 — Malaysians had voted the Barisan Nasional (BN) back to power in the 13th general election (GE13) on May 5.
Touted as the mother of all elections, GE13 saw 13,268,002 voters deciding on the fate of 1,900 candidates (for 222 parliamentary seats and 505 state seats) by casting their votes at 8,245 polling centres throughout the country.
However, Sarawak did not hold the state election simultaneously during GE13 as it was last held on April 16, 2011.
Although the Barisan Nasional (BN) won by a simple majority when it secured 133 parliamentary seats, losing seven more seats than in 2008, it destroyed the opposition's aspiration to capture Putrajaya.
Despite failing to wrest Selangor, Penang and Kelantan, the BN managed to regain Kedah after winning 21 of the 36 state seats, seven more than before, as well as undermining PAS in Kelantan by doubling its seats to 12 from the previous general election.
Upset over its loss, the opposition made uncalled for allegations, including the BN brought in 40,000 Bangladeshis to vote, apart from blaming the Election Commission (EC) for not making adequate enhancements to ensure a fair and free election.
Brushing aside the allegations, the EC asserted that a number of improvements had been implemented, including ensuring that the electoral rolls used in GE13 were gazetted after being cleaned up and allowed voters to double-check their identity against the National Registration Department’s database online.
The EC lamented that the voter registration system using the 12-digit identity card number was unique as a registration identifier to ensure that there was no room for any non-citizen whether a Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Chinese or Indian to register as an additional voter.
Following outcries from the opposition and non- governmental organisations, the EC introduced the use of indelible ink in GE13 to prevent double-voting while the campaign period was extended to 15 days.
The opposition's vaunted claim that it had won by popular vote in GE13 ran smack of first-past-the-post voting system adopted by the country since 1959.
“Although the opposition garnered 5,623,984 votes, they only won 89 parliamentary seats whereas the BN secured 5,237,699 votes and won 133 seats, thus it has the right to form the federal government,” said EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.
The results of the 13th general election also witnessed Umno with more than three million members, consolidating its position as the backbone of BN, and the largest political party in the country became more stable and grew in strength despite various tests.
Umno took 88 of the 133 Parliamentary seats won by BN in the general election compared to 79 from a total of 140 BN seats in 2008.
The 13th general election also saw the continued rejection of MCA by Chinese voters when the largest Chinese party only won seven Parliamentary seats from 37 and 11 state seats out of the 90 it contested.
In this regard, Najib who was appointed Prime Minister again when announcing the new cabinet line-up on May 15 did not list any MCA Parliament members in line with the party's resolution not to take up any Cabinet posts if it did not win well.
Earlier MCA announced the party's stand not to accept any posts in the government if its performance in the 13th general election was worse than the 12th general election when the party won 15 Parliamentary and 32 state seats.
Less than 100 days after the 13th general election, the country was confronted with a by-election in Kuala Besut, Terengganu on July 24.
Umno needed to work hard to defend the seat to prevent a hung state assembly in the state of 16-16 seat ratio should the by-election conducted during puasa month favour PAS based on the total of 17 of the 32 seats won by BN in the May general election.
The campaign on 16:16 actively promoted by PAS in Kuala Besut however failed to change the people's support when BN through its candidate Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman defeated PAS candidate [email protected] Yusof with a 2,592 vote majority.
In the by-election in Sungai Limau, Kedah on November 4, PAS's Mohd Azam Abd Samat retained the seat with a 1,225 vote majority.
The Kuala Besut by-election was held following the death of its incumbent Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar of BN of lung cancer while the by-election for Sungai Limau under the Jerai Parliamentary seat was held following the death of Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak who was the former Menteri Besar of Kedah. — Bernama