1969 Malaysian general election

A general election was held on Saturday, 10 May 1969 for members of the 3rd Parliament of Malaysia, although voting was postponed until between 6 June and 4 July 1970 in Sabah and Sarawak.[1] This election marked the first parliamentary election held in Sabah and Sarawak after the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

1969 Malaysian general election

10 May 1969 – 4 July 1970

All 144 seats to the Dewan Rakyat
73 seats needed for a majority
Turnout2,532,042 (73.6%)
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Tunku Abdul Rahman Burhanuddin al-Helmy Goh Hock Guan
Party Alliance PAS DAP
Leader since 23 August 1951 1956 30 July 1967
Leader's seat Kuala Kedah No seat Bangsar
Last election 89 seats, 58.5% 9 seats, 14.6% 1 seat, 2.0%
Seats won 74 12 13
Seat change 15 3 12
Popular vote 1,063,238 495,641 286,606
Percentage 44.3% 20.9% 12.1%
Swing 14.2% 6.3% 10.1%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Gerakan PPP SUPP
Leader Syed Hussein Alatas S. P. Seenivasagam
Party Gerakan People's Progressive Party Sarawak United People's Party
Leader since 1968 1969
Leader's seat No seat Menglembu
Last election New Party 2 seats, 3.4% New Party
Seats won 8 4 5
Seat change 2
Popular vote 178,971 80,756 71,293
Percentage 7.5% 3.4% 3.0%

  Seventh party Eighth party Ninth party
Party SNAP United Sabah National Organisation Parti Pesaka Sarawak
Last election New Party New Party New Party
Seats won 9 13 2
Popular vote 64,593 31,947 30,765
Percentage 2.7% 1.3% 1.3%

Prime Minister before election

Tunku Abdul Rahman

Prime Minister-designate

Tunku Abdul Rahman

The election resulted in the return to power, with a reduced majority, of the ruling Alliance Party, comprising the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the Malayan Chinese Association, and the Malayan Indian Congress. The Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan) and the Democratic Action Party (DAP), which had campaigned against Bumiputra privileges outlined by Article 153 of the Constitution, made major gains in the election.[2] Voter turnout was 73.6%. Opposition won 54 seats in total causing the Alliance to lose its two-thirds majority in the Parliament (two-thirds majority being the majority required to pass most constitutional amendments) for the first time. This election also saw that Alliance lost its majority in Perak, Selangor and Penang in addition to Kelantan. It would cause the 13 May Incident.

State elections also took place in 330 state constituencies in 12 (out of 13, except Sabah) states of Malaysia on the same day.


Dewan Rakyat

 Summary of the 10 May 1969 Malaysian Dewan Rakyat election results (excluding Malacca Selatan and federal constituencies in Sabah and Sarawak)
Party Vote Seats
Votes % Won % +/–
Alliance Party[lower-alpha 1]Alliance6645.83-23
United Malays National OrganisationUMNO5135.42-8
Malaysian Chinese AssociationMCA139.03-14
Malaysian Indian CongressMIC21.39-1
Pan-Malayan Islamic PartyPMIP495,641128.33+3
Democratic Action PartyDAP286,606139.03+12
Malaysian People's Movement PartyGerakan178,97185.56New
People's Progressive PartyPPP80,75642.78+2
Parti Ra'ayatRa'ayat25,78500.000
The election for another 41 federal constituencies were postponed.
Valid votes
Invalid/blank votes
Total (turnout: %) 100.00103100.00 
Did not vote
Registered voters 
Source: Nohlen et al. , ,, , , , ,

, , , , ,

 Summary of the 10 May 1969 - 4 July 1970 Malaysian Dewan Rakyat election results (including Malacca Selatan and federal constituencies in Sabah and Sarawak)
Party Vote Seats
Votes % Won % +/–
Alliance Party[lower-alpha 1]Alliance1,063,23844.347451.39-15
United Malays National OrganisationUMNO5236.11-7
Malaysian Chinese AssociationMCA139.03-14
Parti Bumiputera SarawakBUMIPUTERA53.47New
Malaysian Indian CongressMIC21.39-1
Sarawak Chinese AssociationSCA21.39New
Pan-Malayan Islamic PartyPMIP495,64120.67128.33+3
Democratic Action PartyDAP286,60611.95139.03+12
Malaysian People's Movement PartyGerakan178,9717.4685.56New
People's Progressive PartyPPP80,7563.3742.78+2
Sarawak United People's PartySUPP71,2932.9753.47New
Sarawak National PartySNAP64,5932.6996.25New
United Sabah National OrganisationUSNO31,9471.33139.03New
Parti Pesaka SarawakPESAKA30,7651.2821.39New
Parti Ra'ayatRa'ayat25,7851.0800.000
Sabah Chinese AssociationSCA24,6991.0332.08New
United Malaysian Chinese OrganisationUMCO1,8080.0800.00New
Valid votes2,397,812
Invalid/blank votes134,230
Total (turnout: 73.6%)2,532,042100.00144100.00+40
Did not vote917,958
Registered voters3,450,000
Source: Nohlen et al. , ,, , , , ,

, , , , ,

  1. Contested using kapal layar election symbol on the ballot papers.

Candidates were returned unopposed in 19 constituencies. Election in one constituency postponed.

West Malaysia went to the polls on 10 May, while Sabah was scheduled to vote on 25 May and Sarawak on 7 June. The Alliance won 10 seats in Sabah on nomination day being unopposed in some constituencies, so after the West Malaysian elections they were assured of a clear majority of 76 out of a total of 144 parliamentary seats. Tun Mustapha Datu Harun's United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) won 10 out of 16 seats unopposed for the Alliance on nomination day.

The opposition parties' gain at state level was more shocking to the Alliance Party which not only continued to lose to PAS in Kelantan, but also to political infant Gerakan in Penang. No party commanded an absolute majority in two other states. The Alliance held only 14 out of 24 seats in Selangor and 19 out of 40 in Perak.[2]

The attrition of Malay support was much higher than that of the non-Malays. Malay opposition parties' vote shares in the peninsula increased drastically from about 15% in 1964 to 25% in 1969 while the support for non-Malay opposition parties remained roughly the same at 26% in both elections. Thanks to the electoral system, however, PAS seats increased from nine to 12 seats only while non-Malay opposition party, DAP, from 1 to 13.

Results by state

State Assemblies


Gerakan and DAP held a victory rally in Kuala Lumpur on 12 May, but the rally turned rowdy, with party members shouting racial epithets at Malay bystanders.[3] UMNO retaliated with its own rally on 13 May, which soon broke out into full-scale rioting, which subsequently became known as the 13 May Incident.[3]


  1. Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume II, p152 ISBN 0-19-924959-8
  2. Report on the parliamentary (Dewan Rakyat) and state legislative assembly general elections 1969 of the states of Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak Archived 4 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine Election Commission of Malaysia
  3. Zainon Ahmad (26 July 2007). "The tragedy of May 13, 1969 (part 2)". The Sun. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
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