Barisan Nasional

The National Front (Malay: Barisan Nasional; abbrev: BN) is a political coalition in Malaysia that was founded in 1973 as a coalition of right-wing and centre parties. They are currently the largest opposition coalition in the country's Dewan Rakyat.

National Front
Chinese name国民阵线
Guómín zhènxiàn
Malay nameBarisan Nasional
باريسن ناسيونل
Tamil nameபாரிசான் நேசனல்
AbbreviationBN
ChairmanAhmad Zahid Hamidi
Secretary-GeneralTengku Adnan Tengku Mansor
Deputy ChairmanMohamad Hasan
Vice ChairmenWee Ka Siong
Vigneswaran Sanasee
FounderAbdul Razak Hussein
Founded1 January 1973 (1973-01-01)[1]
Legalised1 June 1974 (as a party)
Preceded byAlliance
HeadquartersAras 8, Menara Dato’ Onn, Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
NewspaperPro-BN newspapers:
New Straits Times
The Star
Utusan Malaysia
Nanyang Siang Pau
Tamil Nesan
Student wingBarisan Nasional Student Movement
Youth wingBarisan Nasional Youth Movement
Membership (2018)7,000,000
IdeologyKetuanan Melayu[2][3]
Social conservatism[4]
Economic liberalism[5]
1Malaysia
National conservatism
Transformasi Nasional 2050
Political positionRight-wing
Colours     Royal blue and sky white
SloganRakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan.
Hidup Rakyat
Bersama BN, Hebatkan Negaraku
AnthemBarisan Nasional
Dewan Negara:
27 / 70
Dewan Rakyat:
41 / 222
Dewan Undangan Negeri:
131 / 587
Election symbol
Website
www.barisannasional.org.my
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The Barisan Nasional coalition employs the same inter-communal governing model of its predecessor the Alliance Party but on a wider scale, with up to 14 communal political parties involved in the coalition at one point.[1] It dominated Malaysian politics for over thirty years after it was founded, but since 2008 has faced stronger challenges from opposition parties, notably the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and later the Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliances. Taken together with its predecessor (Alliance), it had a combined period of rule from 1957 to 2018, and was considered as the longest ruling coalition party in the democratic world.[6]

In the aftermath of the 2018 general election, the Barisan Nasional coalition lost its hold of the parliament to PH for the first time in Malaysian history. It was also the first time Barisan Nasional became the opposition coalition after almost, taken together with its predecessor (Alliance), 61 years in power, with former prime minister and Barisan Nasional chairman Mahathir Mohamad becoming PH's leader.

History

Formation

Barisan Nasional is the direct successor to the three-party Alliance coalition formed of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC). It was founded in the aftermath of the 1969 general election and the 13 May riots. The Alliance Party lost ground in the 1969 election to the opposition parties, in particular the two newly formed parties Democratic Action Party and Gerakan, and Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). Although the Alliance won a majority of seats, it gained less than half the popular vote, and the resulting tension between different communities led to riots and the declaration of a state of emergency.[7] After the Malaysian Parliament reconvened in 1971, negotiations began with former opposition parties such as Gerakan and People's Progressive Party (myPPP), both of which joined the Alliance in 1972, quickly followed by Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).

In 1973, the Alliance Party was replaced by Barisan Nasional.[1][8] The Barisan Nasional, which included regional parties from Sabah and Sarawak (Sabah Alliance Party, Sarawak United Peoples' Party (SUPP), Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB)), registered in June 1974 as a coalition of nine parties.[8] It contested the 1974 general election as a grand coalition under the leadership of the prime minister Tun Abdul Razak, which it won with considerable success.[9]

1977–2007

In 1977, PAS was expelled from Barisan Nasional following a revolt within the Kelantan state legislature against a chief minister appointed by the federal government.[1] Barisan Nasional nevertheless won the 1978 general election convincingly, and it continued to dominate Malaysian politics in the 1980s and 1990s despite some losses in state elections, such as the loss of Kelantan to PAS, and Sabah to United Sabah Party (PBS) which later joined Barisan Nasional.

By 2003, Barisan Nasional had grown to a coalition formed of more than a dozen communal parties. It performed particularly well in the 2004 general election, winning 198 out of 219 seats.

Although Barisan Nasional never achieved more than 67% of the popular vote in elections from 1974 to 2008, it maintained consecutive two-thirds majority of seats in this period in the Dewan Rakyat until the 2008 election, benefitting from Malaysia's first-past-the-post voting system.[10]

2008–2018

In the 2008 general election, Barisan Nasional lost more than one-third of the parliamentary seats to Pakatan Rakyat, a loose alliance of opposition parties. This marked Barisan's first failure to secure a two-thirds supermajority in Parliament since 1969. Five state governments, namely Selangor, Kelantan, Penang, Perak and Kedah fell to Pakatan Rakyat. Perak however was later returned via court ruling following a constitutional crisis. Since 2008, the coalition has seen its non-Malay component parties greatly diminished in the peninsula.[11]

The losses continued in the 2013 general election, and it recorded its worst election result at the time. BN regained Kedah, but lost several more seats in Parliament along with the popular vote to Pakatan. Despite winning only 47% of the popular vote, it managed to gain 60% of the 222 parliamentary seats, thereby retaining control of the parliament.[12]

And finally, during the 2018 general election, Barisan Nasional lost control of the parliament to Pakatan Harapan, winning a total of only 79 parliamentary seats. The crushing defeat ended their 61-year rule of the country, taken together with its predecessor (Alliance), and this paved the way for the first change of government in Malaysian history. The coalition won only 34% of the popular vote, despite redrawing the electoral boundaries in their favour. In addition to their failure in regaining the Penang, Selangor and Kelantan state governments, six state governments, namely Johor, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Kedah and Sabah fell to Pakatan Harapan and WARISAN (Sabah). The Terengganu state government also fell but to the Gagasan Sejahtera (GS). Barisan Nasional was only in power in three states; namely Perlis, Pahang and Sarawak.

Many of BN's component parties left the coalition following its humiliating defeat at the 2018 general election, reducing its number to only the original three of UMNO, MCA and MIC compared to 13 before the election. These parties either aligned themselves with the new Pakatan Harapan federal government, formed a new state-based pact or remained independent. They include four Sabah-based parties (UPKO, PBS, PBRS and LDP),[13][14][15][16] four Sarawak-based parties (PBB, SUPP, PRS and PDP, which formed a new state-based pact GPS),[17][18] myPPP (under Kayveas faction)[19] and Gerakan.[20] MyPPP experienced a leadership dispute, with Maglin announced that the party remained within the coalition and Kayveas announced that the party had left the coalition, resulting in the dissolution of the party on 14 January 2019.

Among the remaining three component parties in Barisan National, UMNO's parliamentary seats have reduced from 54 to 37 since after 17 members of parliament left the party,[21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28] while MCA's parliamentary seat maintains one. MIC's parliamentary seats have reduced from two to one after the Election Court nullified the results of the election for the Cameron Highlands federal constituency due to bribery,[29] but BN regained its seat from a direct member under the 2019 by-election.[30]

As a result of the these developments, BN's parliamentary seats have reduced to 40, compared with 79 seats that BN has won in the general election.

MCA and MIC made a statement in March 2019 that they want to "move on" and find a new alliance following disputes with secretary-general, Nazri Abdul Aziz. Mohamad Hasan, the acting BN chairman, chaired a Supreme Council meeting scheduled on March 8.

Organisation

In 2013, the vast majority of Barisan Nasional's seats were held by its two largest Bumiputera-based political parties—the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB). For most of its history, both the Malaysian Chinese Association and Malaysian Indian Congress have played major roles in Barisan Nasional, but their representation in Parliament and state legislatures has become much more diminished. Nevertheless, each component party purports to represent – and limit membership – to a certain race: UMNO for the Malays, MCA for the Chinese and so on. In the view of some scholars:

Since its inception the Alliance remained a coalition of communal parties. Each of the component parties operated to all intents and purposes, save that of elections, as a separate party. Their membership was communal, except perhaps Gerakan, and their success was measured in terms of their ability to achieve the essentially parochial demands of their constituents.[31]

Although both the Alliance and BN registered themselves as political parties, membership is mostly indirect through one of the constituent parties while direct membership is allowed.[32] The BN defines itself as a "confederation of political parties which subscribe to the objects of the Barisan Nasional". Although in elections, all candidates stand under the BN symbol, and there is a BN manifesto, each individual constituent party also issues its own manifesto, and there is intra-coalition competition for seats prior to nomination day.[33]

Constituent parties

Flag Name Ideology Leader(s) Seats
contested
2018 result Current
seats
Votes (%) Seats Composition
Constituent parties
UMNO United Malays National Organisation
Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu
Ketuanan Melayu Ahmad Zahid Hamidi 120 21.10%
54 / 222
38 / 41
MCA Malaysian Chinese Association
Persatuan Cina Malaysia
Conservatism Wee Ka Siong 39 5.30%
1 / 222
2 / 41
MIC Malaysian Indian Congress
Kongres India Malaysia
Social conservatism Vigneswaran Sanasee 9 1.39%
2 / 222
1 / 41

Leadership Structure

Barisan Nasional Supreme Council:[34]

Elected representatives

Dewan Negara (Senate)

Senators

  • His Majesty's appointee:


Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives)

Members of Parliament of the 14th Malaysian Parliament

Barisan Nasional has 41 MPs in the House of Representatives, with 38 MPs (or 92.5%) of them from UMNO.

State No. Parliament Constituency Member Party
 PerlisP001Padang BesarZahidi Zainul AbidinUMNO
P003ArauDr. Shahidan KassimUMNO
 KedahP007Padang TerapMahdzir KhalidUMNO
P016BalingAbdul Azeez Abdul RahimUMNO
 KelantanP026KeterehAnnuar MusaUMNO
P029MachangAhmad Jazlan YaakubUMNO
P032Gua MusangTengku Razaleigh HamzahUMNO
 TerengganuP033BesutIdris JusohUMNO
 PenangP041Kepala BatasReezal Merican Naina MericanUMNO
 PerakP054GerikHasbullah OsmanUMNO
P055LenggongShamsul Anuar NasarahUMNO
P061Padang RengasMohamed Nazri Abdul AzizUMNO
P067Kuala KangsarMastura Mohd. YazidUMNO
P069ParitMohd. Nizar ZakariaUMNO
P072TapahSaravanan MuruganMIC
P073Pasir SalakTajuddin Abdul RahmanUMNO
P075Bagan DatukDr. Ahmad Zahid HamidiUMNO
 PahangP078Cameron HighlandsRamli Mohd NorUMNO
P079LipisAbdul Rahman MohamadUMNO
P081JerantutAhmad Nazlan IdrisUMNO
P084Paya BesarMohd. Shahar AbdullahUMNO
P085PekanMohd. Najib Abdul RazakUMNO
P086MaranIsmail Abdul MuttalibUMNO
P087Kuala KrauIsmail Mohamed SaidUMNO
P090BeraIsmail Sabri YaakobUMNO
P091RompinHasan ArifinUMNO
 SelangorP095Tanjong KarangNoh OmarUMNO
 PutrajayaP125PutrajayaTengku Adnan Tengku MansorUMNO
 Negeri SembilanP126JelebuJalaluddin AliasUMNO
P127JempolMohd. Salim ShariffUMNO
P131RembauKhairy Jamaluddin Abu BakarUMNO
 MalaccaP139JasinAhmad HamzahUMNO
 JohorP147Parit SulongNoraini AhmadUMNO
P148Ayer HitamWee Ka SiongMCA
P153SembrongHishammuddin HusseinUMNO
P155TenggaraAdham BabaUMNO
P156Kota TinggiHalimah Mohd. SadiqueUMNO
P157PengerangAzalina Othman SaidUMNO
P164PontianAhmad MaslanUMNO
P165 Tanjung Piai Wee Jeck Seng MCA
 SabahP187KinabatanganBung Moktar RadinUMNO
TotalPerlis (2), Kedah (2), Kelantan (3), Terengganu (1), Penang (1), Perak (8), Pahang (9), Selangor (1), F.T. Putrajaya (1), Negeri Sembilan (3), Malacca (1), Johor (8), Sabah (1)

Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Legislative Assembly)

Malaysian State Assembly Representatives

Barisan Nasional state governments

State Leader type Member Party State Constituency
 PerlisMenteri BesarAzlan ManUMNOBintong
 PahangMenteri BesarWan Rosdy Wan IsmailUMNOJelai

General election results

Election Total seats won Share of seats Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
1974
135 / 154
87.7% 1,287,400 60.8% 135 seats; Governing coalition Abdul Razak Hussein
1978
131 / 154
85.1% 1,987,907 57.2% 4 seats; Governing coalition Hussein Onn
1982
132 / 154
85.7% 2,522,079 60.5% 1 seats; Governing coalition Mahathir Mohamad
1986
148 / 177
83.6% 2,649,263 57.3% 16 seats; Governing coalition Mahathir Mohamad
1990
127 / 180
70.6% 2,985,392 53.4% 21 seats; Governing coalition Mahathir Mohamad
1995
162 / 192
84.4% 3,881,214 65.2% 35 seats; Governing coalition Mahathir Mohamad
1999
148 / 193
76.2% 3,748,511 56.53% 15 seats; Governing coalition Mahathir Mohamad
2004
198 / 219
90.4% 4,420,452 63.9% 51 seats; Governing coalition Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
2008
140 / 222
63.1% 4,082,411 50.27% 58 seats; Governing coalition Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
2013
133 / 222
59.9% 5,237,555 47.38% 7 seats;[35] Governing coalition Najib Razak
2018
79 / 222
35.59% 3,794,827 33.96% 54 seats; Opposition Najib Razak

State election results

State electionState Legislative Assembly
Perlis State Legislative AssemblyKedah State Legislative AssemblyKelantan State Legislative AssemblyTerengganu State Legislative AssemblyPenang State Legislative AssemblyPerak State Legislative AssemblyPahang State Legislative AssemblySelangor State Legislative AssemblyNegeri Sembilan State Legislative AssemblyMalacca State Legislative AssemblyJohor State Legislative AssemblySabah State Legislative AssemblySarawak State Legislative AssemblyTotal won / Total contested
2/3 majority
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
1974
12 / 12
24 / 26
36 / 36
27 / 28
23 / 27
31 / 42
32 / 32
30 / 33
21 / 24
16 / 20
31 / 32
30 / 48
1976
1978
12 / 12
19 / 26
23 / 36
28 / 28
20 / 27
32 / 42
32 / 32
29 / 33
21 / 24
16 / 20
31 / 32
239 / 257
1979
1981
1982
11 / 12
24 / 26
26 / 36
23 / 28
25 / 27
38 / 42
31 / 32
31 / 33
22 / 24
18 / 20
32 / 32
1983
30 / 48
30 / 32
1985
6 / 48
6 / 48
1986
14 / 14
25 / 28
29 / 39
30 / 32
23 / 33
33 / 46
32 / 33
37 / 42
24 / 28
17 / 20
35 / 36
1 / 48
300 / 351
1987
28 / 48
28 / 48
1990
14 / 14
26 / 28
0 / 39
22 / 32
19 / 33
33 / 46
31 / 33
35 / 42
24 / 28
17 / 20
32 / 36
0 / 48
253 / 351
1991
49 / 56
49 / 56
1994
23 / 48
23 / 48
1995
15 / 15
34 / 36
7 / 43
25 / 32
32 / 33
51 / 52
37 / 38
45 / 48
30 / 32
22 / 25
40 / 40
338 / 394
1996
57 / 62
57 / 64
1999
12 / 15
24 / 36
2 / 43
4 / 32
30 / 33
44 / 52
30 / 38
42 / 48
32 / 32
21 / 25
40 / 40
31 / 48
312 / 329
2001
60 / 62
60 / 62
2004
14 / 15
31 / 36
21 / 45
28 / 32
38 / 40
52 / 59
41 / 42
54 / 56
34 / 36
26 / 28
55 / 56
59 / 60
452 / 504
2006
62 / 71
62 / 71
2008
14 / 15
14 / 36
6 / 45
24 / 32
11 / 40
28 / 59
37 / 42
20 / 56
21 / 36
23 / 28
50 / 56
59 / 60
307 / 504
2011
55 / 71
55 / 71
2013
13 / 15
21 / 36
12 / 45
17 / 32
10 / 40
31 / 59
30 / 42
12 / 56
22 / 36
21 / 28
38 / 56
48 / 60
275 / 505
2016
77 / 82
77 / 82
2018
10 / 15
3 / 36
8 / 45
10 / 32
2 / 40
24 / 59
25 / 42
4 / 56
16 / 36
13 / 28
16 / 56
12 / 60
143 / 505

Notes

    References

    1. Joseph Liow; Michael Leifer (20 November 2014). Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Southeast Asia. Routledge. pp. 102–. ISBN 978-1-317-62233-8.
    2. Helen Ting. "The Politics of National Identity in West Malaysia: Continued Mutation or Critical Transition? [The Politics of Ambiguity]" (PDF). Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University. J-Stage. p. 3/21 [33] and 5/21 [35]. UMNO came into being in 1946 under the impetus of the Anti-Malayan Union Movement based on this ideological understanding of ketuanan Melayu. Its founding president, Dato’ Onn Jaafar, once said that the UMNO movement did not adhere to any ideology other than Melayuisme, defined by scholar Ariffin Omar as “the belief that the interests of the bangsa Melayu must be upheld over all else”. Malay political dominance is a fundamental reality of Malaysian politics, notwithstanding the fact that the governing coalition since independence, the Alliance [subsequently expanded to form the Barisan Nasional or literally, the “National Front”], is multiethnic in its composition.
    3. Jinna Tay; Graeme Turner (24 July 2015). Television Histories in Asia: Issues and Contexts. Routledge. pp. 127–. ISBN 978-1-135-00807-9.
    4. Timothy J. Lomperis, September 1996, 'From People's War to People's Rule: Insurgency, Intervention, and the Lessons of Vietnam', page 212, ISBN 0807822736
    5. Jan Senkyr (2013). "Political Awakening in Malaysia". KAS International Reports (7): 73–74.
    6. Anuradha Raghu; Niluksi Koswanage (5 May 2013). "Malaysians vote to decide fate of world's longest-ruling coalition". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
    7. Keat Gin Ooi (2004). Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor. ABC-CLIO. pp. 139–. ISBN 978-1-57607-770-2.
    8. Cheah Boon Kheng (2002). Malaysia: The Making of a Nation. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 147–. ISBN 978-981-230-175-8.
    9. Dr Nam-Kook Kim (28 February 2014). Multicultural Challenges and Redefining Identity in East Asia. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 219–. ISBN 978-1-4724-0233-2.
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    11. Stuart Grudgings; Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah; Niluksi Koswanage; Raju Gopalakrishnan (5 May 2013). "Malaysia coalition extends rule despite worst electoral showing". Reuters. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
    12. "A dangerous result". The Economist. 11 May 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
    13. Avila Geraldine; Norasikin Daineh (11 May 2018). "Warisan now has 35 seats, enough to form state government: Shafie [NSTTV]". New Straits Times. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
    14. "PBS keluar BN, bentuk Gabungan Bersatu" (in Malay). Berita Harian. 12 May 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
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    17. Sharon Ling; Geryl Ogilvy (12 June 2018). "Sarawak BN parties pull out of coalition to form independent state-based pact". The Star. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
    18. Lee Poh Onn (15 June 2018). "Commentary: Free from the shackles of a fallen coalition, does Sarawak parties leaving spell the end of the Barisan Nasional?". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
    19. "MyPPP leaves BN with immediate effect". New Straits Times. 19 May 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
    20. "Gerakan leaves Barisan Nasional". New Straits Times. 23 June 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
    21. Ivan Loh (24 June 2018). "Bagan Serai MP quits Umno, pledges support for Pakatan Harapan". The Star. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
    22. "Bukit Gantang MP quits Umno". Free Malaysia Today. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
    23. "Former Puteri Umno chief quits party, upset with results of polls". The Star. 1 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
    24. "Mustapa quits Umno after 40 years - Nation | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
    25. "Anifah: I quit Umno in the interest of Sabah rights - Nation | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
    26. "Labuan MP quits Umno to join Warisan - Nation | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
    27. Vanar, Muguntan; Lee, Stephanie; Joibi, Natasha. "Sabah Umno exodus sees nine of 10 Aduns, five of six MPs leave - Nation | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
    28. "Six Umno MPs leave the party - Nation | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
    29. Hamdan, Nurbaiti. "Court nullifies BN's GE14 victory for Cameron Highlands seat (Updated) - Nation | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
    30. "BN retains Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat". www.thesundaily.my. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
    31. Rachagan, S. Sothi (1993). Law and the Electoral Process in Malaysia, p. 12. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. ISBN 967-9940-45-4.
    32. Ahmad, Zuhrin Azam. "Barisan amends constitution to allow direct membership - Nation | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
    33. Rachagan, p. 21.
    34. Organisational Chart of Barisan Nasional
    35. Arno Maierbrugger (16 August 2013). "Malaysia gov't bashed for $155m election ad spending". Investvine. Retrieved 16 August 2013.

    Literature

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