2013 13th General Elections a heartbreaker

June 7th, 2013 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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This being just after one month of our 13th General Elections (feels like ages right?), this is  my thoughts and opinion on 13th General Elections.


BN: expectation was cautiously high that BN can get back 2/3 majority. PM Najib was personally involved in leading the charge to recover Selangor. Massive funds were spent in campaigning – online, print and tv/radio media were flooded with pro-govt and pro-BN ads. The govt also provided many goodies, ranging from BR1M 2.0 cash handout, to announcing affordable housing schemes to discount for taxi purchase. Various categories of voters seem to get something. The online presence was much more organised and targeted, compared to 2008 where PR steamrolled over BN. With this in mind, expectation was that BN will comfortably win 2/3 and even capture Selangor and Kelantan. PM and his ministers went around campaigning for candidates.

PR: Not to be outdone, PR folks also had high expectation, to the extend that “ini kalilah” (this time) to change government. Even though outmuscled in print and online ads, the PR team engaged in social media as in 2008. But the similar tactics used in 2008 made it a bit like “what’s new?”. PR were confident of retaining Selangor and even get back Perak. During campaign period, PR heavyweights were also going around campaigning for fellow candidates.

Nomination and Campaigning

BN: BN did its job of ensuring strict checking on candidates, but still there were issues regarding academic qualification of some candidates, as the qualifications came from degree mills. Also, the nomination of Zulkifli Nordin (PERKASA) who had insulted Hindus (and in my opinion will continue to do more stupid things) to stand in Shah Alam as “friends of BN” candidate angered many Indians. MIC was in the backfoot trying to contain the fallout from this. Zul’s apology and subsequent fingerpointing at his previous party didn’t really endear him to voters.

This election also saw for first time BN failed to put up a candidate as the UMNO candidate for Pasir Mas failed to submit nomination paper. He’s argument is to allow independent Ibrahim Ali (also PERKASA) to fight against PAS candidate. This is a blackmark for BN, but not much publicised.  Due to this, BN already lost a seat before election day.

Due to unhappiness over candidate selection issues, some UMNO members stood as independents. A total of 61 members were sacked for going against the party. Among the high profile one is Deputy Head of Women’s wing.

PR: PR as usual did some parachuting of candidates, which also caused unhappiness. Some members who stood as independents were sacked. More worryingly was the allocation of seats. On nomination day, 7 seats saw overlapping nominations among coalition members. These were resolved, but after nomination, which led to some bad repercussions. The associate coalition member, Parti Sosialis Malaysia suffered losses due to this. In my area, ex-ISA detainee and Hindraf leader Manoharan Malayalam was dropped in favour of another ex-ISA detainee and Hindraf leader, Ganabathirao. MP for Kapar, Manikavasagam was move to state seat of Bukit Melawati.

Campaigning saw various police reports due to election offences, the usual tussles and small fights. In addition, few centres even had explosives being detonated. First time this happened. Generally campaign period went smoothly without major problems, bar the bombs.


This time around, very high number of independent candidates contested. Among prominent ones are HINDRAF’s Uthayakumar and ex-Masterskill College CEO Edmund Santhara.

Also, candidates from BERJASA and KITA also entered the fray. BERJASA is party to keep an eye on. Their focus is xenophobic and racist, and its detrimental if they win any seats.

Women candidates made up about 10% of the candidates. More effort should be made to groom and nominate female candidates. With our female voters outnumbering male voters, perhaps its time political parties think out of the box.

For the first time in Malaysian electoral history, all seats were contested and no candidate won a seat unopposed. A total of 579 parliamentary candidates contested 222 parliamentary seats. For the 505 state seats, there were 1,322 candidates


This election also saw a historic moment just days before the election date. Hindraf signed MOU with BN, thus aligning itself with the coalition. Waythamoorthy’s move saw a plethora of responses – from good to bad. Some were supportive, saying if BN can help fulfill the Hindraf Demands, why not? Others say this as opportunist move by Waytha and betrayal of Indian community. MIC was lost for words for few days. Even HRP boss Uthaya was angry. PR shocked. The community was divided. BN thought they have clinched it.


Record number of independents, including some who quit or were sacked from their parties to stand. Among them are UMNO deputy Wanita chief, Kamaliah and ex-Teratai assemblywoman Jenice of DAP.

All the independent candidates lost their deposits. Lesson learnt – independents can’t win it.

Election Day

This is the first time inedible ink is used for elections. About RM5 million was spent to buy the ink. However, within hours of election start, pictures of voters with clean fingers emerged. For some, the ink can be washed away using detergents, cleaning solutions etc. The election commission have to answer for this, and according to them, the halal ingredients used made the ink less strong. I think no need waste money next time la.

This time around, another issue propped up – phantom voters (foreign workers with IC) being ferried around to vote. Few incidents of people getting bashed up were reported. And some citizens were held up by watchgroups of opposition to verified if they are indeed Malaysians. I saw an incident at Taman Sentosa Klang at around 3pm, where police were summoned and they took away someone (not sure if phantom voter or the guy who bashed up the phantom voter).

This election saw a record number of voters turn out to vote. 82.5% of Malaysian voters voted. There were reports of long queues. At the Taman Sentosa centre, the queue lined up until housing area road. Easily about 200 people were queuing at 11.30am. The weather forecast that it will rain in the afternoon and the higher voter could be a cause. EC should have set up more than just 2 counters to check IC and polling centre.


There is a serious gap between expectation (read the beginning) and performance of the contestants. I feel that both BN and PR had high expectations and were seriously disappointed.  PM Najib’s faced during announcement of winning simple majority seemed to say it all. It was a bad victory. BN failed to gain their prizes – Selangor and 2/3 majority. Overall, BN lost 7 seats compared to 2008. However, UMNO did well compared to other coalition members, winning 88 (or 2/3 of BN) seats. MCA saw a massacre as they lost half their seats (15 down to 7) while MIC took 4, better than the 3 in 2008.

PR thought they won Perak, NS and made inroads in Johor. But they didn’t win any extra states. In fact, they lost Kedah. But both Selangor and Penang were retained with better results, and in my opinion would be hard to imagine BN winning them back. DAP, among the PR team, managed to win much more(10 extra seats) than 2008 (including Sarawak and Sabah), and is the opposition with the most MPs in Dewan Rakyat (38 seats). PR and PAS managed to hold on to some seats. In the end, BN took 133 seats and PR 89. If any defections are planned, PR would need 23 crossovers or aligned MPs to make majority.

 PR also secured more votes (50.87%) as compared to BN (47.38%), but since Malaysia practises first by post and not popular vote system, its pointless to argue about this.

PM Najib made a misstep by blaming Chinese tsunami for the losses suffered by BN. BN big names like ex-Johor MB Ghani Othman lost to Lim Kit Siang. However, stats indicate that losses are due to urban communities (which have bigger chinese representation) voting against BN while the malay heartlands and rural areas still supporting BN. Since there are less Chinese in the heartland and rural areas, it looks like Chinese tsunami, but actually its urban tsunami.

The PM in the same speech mentioned about national reconciliation needed to ensure unity. We have to see what kind of national reconciliation is to be formed.

This election also saw a record turnout, with more than 80% voting.


MIC contested 9 parliament and 18 state seats. It won 4 parliament and 5 state, which is 9/27 or 33%. President G Palanivel claimed that MIC received good support from Malay and Indian voters, generally but I’m not sure how to arrive at that conclusion. The result is better than 2008 whereby it won 3 parliament and some state seats.

The parliament seat winners are G Palanivel, Dr Subra, Saravanan and Kamalanathan. G Palanivel, the president, suffered a scare as the majority against DAP’s Manoharan in Cameron Highlands “safe seat” was only. Dr Subra predictably won over Chua Jui Meng, Saravanan against Vasanthakumar (ex-Hindraf). The major setback is defeat of Murugesan at Kota Raja seat against incumbent Dr Siti Mariah and SK Devamany against incumbent Dr Michael Jeyakumar in Sg Siput. Many felt Devamany was sacrificed by Palanivel to ensure Palanivel is able to stand in a safe seat. Not sure how much of this issue is going to affect the coming MIC elections.

MIC lost Subang and Kapar against other Indian candidates.

The state seats this time around are from Johor, Malacca.


PR is holding a series of protests, but I doubt it would have any bearing on election results. More than 100 petitions have been filed, so perhaps some seats may see re-election. Some MPs are also having court cases, so more possibilities of by-elections. Rakyat is already looking forward for GE2014.

SPR will be in limelight as the proposed delineation of constituency boundary is to be done this year. Would there be more gerrymandering to try maintain advantage to ruling government?

For BN and PR, its back to drawing boards. Bring on GE14!


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