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May 17, 2008

The Kingmakers: Sabah, Sarawak and the 12th Malaysia General Elections

asiafoundation - [...] The Economist last week featured a telling pie chart on Malaysia’s 12th general election results. It revealed, without analysis, that Malaysia’s Barisan National (BN) coalition has the electorate in Sabah and Sarawak to thank for saving its narrow majority in parliament. While the BN was toppled in key states like Penang and Selangor, there was barely a ripple in voter trends in Malaysia’s eastern most states. Almost all BN candidates in both states won with a solid majority. The BN has been the ruling coalition in Malaysia since 1974, though its dominant party the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has been in the governing seat since independence in 1957.

These often ignored states are now enjoying the limelight as kingmakers for the BN and are well placed to cash in on the attention.

Geographically separated from Kuala Lumpur by the South China Sea, Sabah and Sarawak comprise 5.4 million people or 20% of Malaysia’s population of 27 million. Together the states gave the BN 54 seats out of 140 in the Malaysian parliament. 41 of these seats are held by local Sabah and Sarawak parties that have joined the BN coalition.

However, the BN’s success in Eastern Malaysia should not lead observers to believe that Sabahans and Sarawakians are satisfied with the BN’s governance, accountability and service delivery in their states.... selanjutnya.


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