BN’s popular vote dips below 50% in Peninsula


Greetings from Ground Zero, three days after the political hurricane that struck a wide swathe all the way from Kedah to Selangor.

guan engThis morning, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was sworn in as Penang Chief Minister even as Zakaria Md Deros passed away. (Oh, what good is storing worldly treasures in earthly palaces when you can’t take it with you when you go? I think there is a message from above in there, especially in the timing.) It is a historic day for it is the first time the Opposition is taking over the reins of the Penang state government in nearly 40 years.

Koh Tsu Koon, still gracious in defeat, was present, but BN state assembly members reportedly stayed away. In fact, Koh deserves to be commended for the calm, collected way he has handled this devastating defeat and for facilitating a smooth transition.

Chief Minister Lim pledged to introduce a Freedom of Information Act, ensure open tenders for public projects, work towards the revival of local council elections and get public servants to declare their assets. Penang’s influential civil society groups are expected to make even more recommendations in the weeks ahead.

It remains to be seen whether the BN-controlled federal government will attempt to trim or delay its financial allocations to the state in the months and years ahead. If that happens, the Penang government will have to be even more creative and imaginative in raising funds through, for instance, a review of land reclamation projects.

Let’s wait and see what happens in Perak and Selangor.

Many of us are still struggling to come to terms with the scale of the Opposition’s inroads.

According to my researcher friend, the BN’s share of the popular vote in the peninsula actually dipped below the 50 per cent mark. The BN received just 49.8 per cent of the popular votes cast. For the whole country, the BN bagged 51.5 per cent of votes cast as more than 60 per cent of the residents of Sabah and Sarawak opted for its component parties. On the other hand, more than than 60 per cent of voters in KL and Penang voted for the Opposition’s parliamentary candidates.

He also pointed out some other fascinating statistics:

More than half of the Malaysian population (52 per cent) live in areas where the Opposition triumphed – the five states under Opposition rule plus the Federal Territory of KL, which the Opposition swept as well. These areas accounted for 63 per cent of the total ballots issued.

These areas also account for 47 per cent of the bumiputera population. If only the ethnic Malays are considered, then 57 per cent of the Malay population now live in these Opposition areas. In addition, almost three quarters of Indian Malaysians reside in these areas.

In terms of economic wealth, these states account for 56 per cent of the country’s GDP. (Calculations based on figures obtained from the Mid-term Review of the Eigth Malaysia Plan.)

The Opposition-held areas include three of the wealthiest regions (in terms of per capita income) – KL, Selangor and Penang (though it must be noted that income disparities are wide) – and the two poorest states, Kelantan and Kedah.

Weird result for Mukhriz on SPR website

There is something weird about the Election Commission figures for the Jerlun parliamentary seat, which was won by Mukhriz Mahathir (who is now giving Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi a hard time).

If the Election Commission’s figures are to be believed, the voter turnout was an incredible 99.85 per cent! The ballots issued were 37,242 compared to the electorate size of 37,297.

In contrast, the state seats within the Jerlun area saw a turnout of 81-82 per cent.

Assuming there are still a number of dead voters on the rolls, it is virtually impossible to record 99.85 per cent. The Commission must clarify how this is possible.

These figures are from the Election Commission’s website:

  37,297 37,242 99.85%  
  N.3 – KOTA SIPUTEH 19,771 16,126 81.56% 278 495 BN
  N.4 – AYER HITAM 25,742 21,171 82.24% 352 506 PAS

Update: Thanks, Frank and Sean, for pointing out that the total electorate for Jerlun should be 45,513 and not 37,297 as stated on the SPR website. This would then give a turnout of 81.8 per cent, which is about right, and not 99.85 per cent.

Just for the record, during the 1969 general election, the Alliance (the predecessor to the BN) lost Penang, Perak and Kelantan while Selangor was dead even at 14-14. If I am not mistaken, the Alliance could only secure 49 per cent of the popular vote.

Here is an article I wrote for Asia Times Online:

Political shift in the industrial heart

By Anil Netto

PENANG – A torrential downpour drenched the northern state of Penang during the late afternoon of Malaysia’s March 8 general election day. Many political analysts had earlier anticipated some waves of democratic change for the area, the country’s only state with an ethnic Chinese majority; few anticipated the political tsunami which actually ensued.

Penang, like many other areas of the country fed up with corruption, discriminatory policies towards minorities, general disillusionment with public institutions and a rising cost of living, was ripe for political change. The combined opposition secured 29 of Penang’s 40-seat assembly, with the Democratic Action Party (DAP) clinching 19 of those parliamentary spots. Full article

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13 Mar 2008 1.27pm

Just to clarify my aim in including the bit about Zakaria wasn’t to take a swipe at someone who has passed on but to remind other politicians that it is pointless to accumulate wealth which they cannot take along with them when their time is up. Instead they should serve the people and this will be remembered for a long, long time.

Gerald Khor
13 Mar 2008 9.29am

Subject: Strong disappointment on DAP’s decision over Perak Menteri Besar From: Gerald Khor Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2008 08:32 AM To: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected] Subject: Re: Strong disappointment on DAP’s decision over Perak Menteri Besar To my beloved DAP leaders, Hope this message get to your CEC members as well. Why you want to sour the already fragile relationship with PAS, at a time where you can work towards strengthening it? PAS has shown willingness to discuss Barisan Rakyat and we rakyat is happy to see the formation of Barisan Rakyat to realize the dream of 2-party system, as… Read more »

Alan Chen
Alan Chen
12 Mar 2008 5.52pm

3/8/2008-An unprecedented win for opposition in 5 states as they expect to win in parliament, but not states. Selangor is crucial state to lay a ‘siege ‘ in Putrajaya.

3/8/2013-Pak Lah/Najib will hold election to enjoy their last days of being the government. Putrajaya will be the 112th seat to be won by BR, dooming BN into opposition.

Chuang Tze
Chuang Tze
12 Mar 2008 4.19pm

As they say, the good and righteous leave a legacy of love and prosperity for Eternity and the evil and self-centred leave their stinking names for 10,000 years and their children pay the price.

Death is the great Equalizer and the true worth of a person is what he has done and what he has left behind …

mind your language
mind your language
12 Mar 2008 3.39pm

I may agreed on many of the issues you have raised all this while but it really struck me when you made a swipe on Zakaria’s death. As a malaysian, I thought you could be more sensitive when comes to this kind of issues. Death, especially among Muslim should never be made into an issue. We must paid the utmost respect to the deceased and their families, not making a mockery of their demise. I hope you will take a serious note on this matter. There is really no need for that. GOD knows what is best for his servants.… Read more »

12 Mar 2008 2.20pm

The swipe on Zakaria will serve as a reminder to other unscruplous people who would not hesitate to rob and bully can so easily get away —even in death. He will always be remembered for what he is. Francis is entitled to his opinion as others are with theirs.

12 Mar 2008 3.34pm

Since we are on statistics, another one to note.
At 49.8%, we can say that the popular vote for peninsula is about even between BN and BR.
So, if we just count the number of seats contested in peninsula, it is 86 to BN and 80 to BR, which is less than 10% difference. This means this time round, the gerrymandering did not help BN and is quite fair for the first past the post election system. BN is boosted by the seats that came from Sabah and Sarawak which are all for BN save 2, I think.


Abang Jo
Abang Jo
12 Mar 2008 2.16pm

Great analysis.

The timing of Zakaria’s demise should serve as a reminder to all the corrupt politicians that God is fair. At the end of it all, we’re still answerable to the divine one…. …

Sean E
Sean E
11 Mar 2008 5.46pm

Now that the opposition parties have won control of 5 state government and deny BN two third majority in the parliament, do the next stage by petition for a Royal Commission on Electoral Reform (RCER) in Malaysia. If you want to have a better future for our children in Malaysia, do you bit by signing the on-line petition at Why do we need to reform the Election Commission? 1) the discrepancy between number of voters in urban and rural seats is too great. The smallest parliamentary seat (Federal Territory, Putrajaya) has only 6,608 voters while the parliamentary seat for… Read more »

Francis Rozario
Francis Rozario
11 Mar 2008 5.05pm

that swipe on a Zakaria Mat Deros was not required, he is now in the past and let him be so, taking a swipe at him now serves no purpose.

11 Mar 2008 4.16pm

it is obvious that there is something wrong on the SPR website stats.
If you look at the DUN seat, the P5 total voters is 19771 + 25742 = 45513.
Thus voters turnout is 81.8% which is about right.
So I think this is just wrong stats from SPR site. you can check on other site for the stats.

Simple stats also SPR can get it wrong……

11 Mar 2008 4.10pm


On your posting on Mukhriz election, you mentioned that there was 99.85 % voting.

According to the electoral list, for Jerlun electorate, the total registered voters were 45,513 and the total turnout was 37242.

The registered voters stood at 45,513 and NOT 37,297 as you mentioned.

Actually the turnout was 81.8 % and not 99.85 % .

You may want to clarify your figures so that there is no confusion and cause unnecessary alarm even though Mukhriz is from UMNO.

15 Mar 2008 1.41pm

All in All, Malaysian should be happy that Pak La is still the PM. Even if BN has lost badly this Elections, The BN leaders should be working together and do a detail on why they lost They should not blame Pak la for the failure but they and the coalition should be blame themself equally. This is a one party coalition where there are many party leaders in it. Its they who are the failure of the heavy lost. Pak La has a diplomatic way of handling things in the country. This why the country is stable and every… Read more »