By now the hype over GE 14 is almost at boiling point. The next general election must take place before 24 August 2018, but it may take place earlier than that. Do you know who will be the main players come GE 14?
Although we have many political parties in Malaysia plus some independent candidates, the strongest players in Malaysia’s political arena have always been coalitions. Coalitions are temporary alliances to achieve a common goal via combined action. When several political parties combine their strengths and influences, they can reach more voters and therefore stand a higher chance of winning the general election.
The party that wins a general election forms the ruling government, and all other parties that participated against it are be grouped into one general group known as the opposition. Then there are independent candidates, who do not represent any party, but instead represent themselves. Of course, some voices are louder than others.
One of the main players this GE 14 is a coalition that has been forming the ruling government since Independence : the National Front coalition, better known as Barisan Nasional in Malay. Barisan Nasional is actually a coalition that is made up of as many as 14 different political parties in its heyday. For this upcoming election, the Barisan Nasional coalition is made up of 13 parties, namely UMNO, MCA, MIC, PBB, SUPP, Gerakan, myPPP, LDP, PBRS, UPKO, PBS, SPDP, and PRS.
Barisan Nasional has never lost a general election. This means that it has formed the ruling government for over 60 years by now. Over the years, it has given us six Prime Ministers, with the most recent being Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, the eldest son of the second Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak. Over the last few elections, though, it has been facing strong fights from the opposition.
Pakatan Rakyat / Pakatan Harapan
The political coalition known as Pakatan Rakyat prior to 2015 is now known as Pakatan Harapan following the splintering of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) from the coalition. As of 2017, the parties that make up Pakatan Harapan are the PKR, PPBM (a splintered faction of UMNO, and the newest member), AMANAH, and DAP. This may cause Pakatan Harapan to sound much smaller than Barisan Nasional, but this coalition has caused several near-upsets over the recent decades, making it the biggest contender against Barisan Nasional in the current political arena.
Unlike Barisan Nasional, the opposition did not form a coalition until much later, with Barisan Alternatif (the predecessor of Pakatan Rakyat) founded only in 1998. This gave Barisan Nasional four decades of advantage over the opposition coalition. The opposition, in comparison to Barisan Nasional’s perfect winning strike, sees its performance often in flux. Over the course of independent Malaysia’s history, the opposition has occasionally shown a strong standing, only to reverse in the next general election. However, its performance has seen an upwards trend over the past two general elections, so a lot of anticipation hinges on GE 14 that will be held this year.