The 2004 general election was held on March 21. Under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, BN recorded its most spectacular victory ever.
A closer look into the results of the 11th general election (GE11) reveals that despite the BN’s emphatic win, the Chinese electorate did not however give the BN any more support than they did in the previous GE10 in 1999.
The analysis by Aliran reproduced in the table below divides the peninsula seats into three major types:
- generally RURAL large Malay-majority seats with more than 70 percent Malay voters
- URBAN large Chinese-majority seats with more than 70 percent Chinese voters, and
- semi-urban MIXED seats wherein no particular ethnic group constitutes more than 70 percent of the voters
Aliran’s analysis by Dr Francis Loh compares the amount of votes in percentage obtained by BN in 1999 and 2004.
In 1999, there were 10 Parliament seats where Chinese voters made up more than 70 percent of the electorate. BN won 4 out of these 10.
In 2004 after Parliament was expanded from 193 to 219 seats following a constituency re-delineation exercise, there were 12 Parliament seats where Chinese voters made up more than 70 percent of the electorate. BN won only 2 out of these 12.
Therefore in terms of its total number of Chinese-majority seats, BN fared worse in 2004 than it did in 1999. BN’s Chinese performance can be summed up as:
1999 (GE10): bad
2004 (GE11): worse
2008 (GE12): terrible
2013 (GE13): disaster
GE14: guarantee wipe-out
If we look at the “popular vote” percentages in 1999, BN polled 48.5 percent in the large Malay majority constituencies. This is the traditional Umno vs PAS battleground.
In 2004, BN’s vote share in the hugely Malay-majority seats took a leap up to 59.1 percent. We can interpret this as BN not only regaining Malay support (following its loss due to the 1998 Anwar Reformasi and 1999’s poor showing in the general election) but enjoying a huge vote swing.
BN registered a whopping 10.6 percent increase in popular votes in the rural Malay seats. In the Chinese urban areas nonetheless, it is a different story. Despite the overall trend of BN’s enormous popularity in 2004, the ruling coalition actually suffered a loss of the Chinese popular vote in the Chinese-majority seats.
In 1999, BN received 48.0 percent of the votes in urban seats which had more than 70 percent Chinese voters. In 2004, BN received 46.5 percent of these Chinese urban votes.
Between GE10 and GE11, the BN Chinese parties saw a drop of 1.5 percent in Chinese support. Therefore, the Chinese urban voters had in reality bucked the national trend of warmly embracing Pak Lah in his first term.
As a counter check, please note that the BN’s performance in Sarawak both in 1999 and 2004 did not witness any major change. BN made a clean sweep of the Sarawak Parliament seats in 1999, winning 28 out of 28, and similarly made an almost clean sweep in 2004, winning 27 out of the 28 Sarawak seats.
In Sabah, the BN did significantly better in 2004 compared to 1999.
All in all though, Pak Lah’s resounding electoral success in 2004 came from the Malay rural voters (meaning Umno trumped PAS in the Malay heartland) as well as in the mixed constituencies where the BN has generally performed better than its rivals until 2013 when PKR outperformed BN in the mixed band – see GE13 table below.
On the Chinese front, what the 2004 election results tell us is that the BN was never much in favour with Chinese voters and its popularity keeps slipping with each successive GE. Come the next one, any vestiges of BN’s last hold on Chinese community loyalty would have evaporated.
But let’s also zoom in on PAS’s track record.
In 1999, PAS had 27 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat. In 2004, this number dropped drastically to seven. This goes to show that PAS bore the brunt of Umno-BN’s runaway GE11 success.
By comparison in 1999, DAP had 10 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat. In 2004, DAP had 12 MPs. We must remember that 2004 was the year that BN notched its most exhilarating performance. Yet the DAP did not suffer but managed to increase its MPs by two. What this goes to show is that the Chinese hardcore support for DAP never wavered even in the face of Hurricane Dollah.
In 1999, PAS retained Kelantan and won Terengganu. In 2004, PAS allowed the BN to recapture Terengganu with a thumping margin of victory. BN snatched back the penyu state winning 28 out of 32 DUN seats.
At the same time, BN under Pak Lah made a strong clawback in Kelantan, gaining up to 21 state seats to PAS’s 24. The Kelantan DUN has altogether 45 seats.
A by-election was called in Pengkalan Pasir, Kelantan in 2005 following the death of the PAS incumbent. In the December by-election, Umno wrested the seat from PAS to further reduce PAS’s majority in the state.
In 2005, Kelantan was the sole opposition state in the country.
- 21 March 2004: PAS (24), Umno (21)
- 6 Dec 2005: PAS (23), Umno (22)
As you can see from the donut chart below, PAS was holding on to Kelantan by a whisker.
In such a precarious 23-to-22 scenario, a switch by just a single PAS Adun would have cost the Islamist party the state through the collapse of the PAS government. Something like Perak 2009 when the Pakatan state government was toppled by DAP and PKR crossovers could have happened in Kelantan 2005.
(Note that PAS Aduns maintained their integrity in Perak when DAP and PKR Aduns succumbed.)
Cross comparison: Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s PBS state government was installed in February 1994 after narrowly winning the Sabah election securing 25 seats against the BN’s 23. The Pairin administration sadly lasted only two weeks. With the defection of his Aduns, Pairin was forced to resign as Sabah chief minister on 17 March 1994 after losing his majority in the state assembly.
Remarkably, the Nik Aziz administration remained intact in December 2005 despite having only a one-seat advantage in the DUN. This was due to the iron-clad bai’ah held by the PAS Aduns.
Unlike Umno, PAS has never possessed immense financial and other resources. What PAS has is its wala, the tremendous discipline of its elected representatives and immense volunteerism of its rank-and-file members.
Among all the political parties, PAS is the one most respected for its ethics and distinguished for its istiqamah. PAS is ideological and philosophical in the way that Umno Baru cannot come close.
Hence what Saari Sungib and Hasnul Baharuddin did struck at their party’s spiritual core and existential foundation. An arrow shot straight to the heart.
Their action was nothing short of treachery, one as tragic as the frog-jumping that once caused PBS to cede Sabah.
When PAS’s Hulu Kelang and Morib Aduns langgar bai’ah, the question surfaced as to what punishment could be meted out to the traitorous duo. There was no precedent to refer because such a thing had never happened before.
Muslims take sumpah laknat very seriously. Sejahat-jahatnya Anwar Ibrahim sekalipun, dia tidak berani bersumpah di masjid perihal kes liwat Saiful Bukhari.
It would not be amiss to say that the betrayal by Saari and Hasnul (pix below flanking Kit Siang) sent a big shockwave rippling – how could PAS people ever do such a thing!
How could they? They could and they did because they have been morally contaminated by the DAP and PKR.
Let’s now revisit the 2008 general election to trace the damage that the DAP has wrought on the moral fibre of our nation.
Political scientist Chandra Muzaffar has explored the reasons behind the BN’s shocking reversal of fortune. The following excerpts are taken from his article ‘The polls – and the BN debacle‘ (17 March 2008).
Dr Chandra wrote that one should not be surprised that the opposition parties harnessed to the hilt all the dissatisfaction of the Indians and the Chinese.
Although some Umno wrongdoings deserved to be exposed, nonetheless “some Opposition leaders had no compunctions about disseminating scurrilous allegations pertaining to the private lives of government figures without providing incontrovertible evidence,” said Dr Chandra.
Dalam kata lain, mahupun tidak berbekalkan bukti yang kukuh mahupun keterangan sahih, sesetengah pemimpin pembangkang masih tetap melontarkan pelbagai tohmahan terhadap orang kerajaan tanpa apa-apa batasan atau sedikit rasa berdosa.
Sebut fitnah lah tu.
According to Dr Chandra:
“Truths, half truths, distortions, exaggerations and outright lies were mixed into a scintillating cocktail and served to the people by an Opposition who, like the government parties, was ever ready to separate means from ends in pursuit of state and parliamentary seats.”
Bagi puak pembangkang, matlamat menghalalkan cara.
I wholeheartedly agree with Dr Chandra’s assessment that the opposition are willing to spew (and have done so abundantly) outright lies in their pursuit of power. Preservation of Truth has been the first casualty of the DAP greed and power craziness.
In Dr Chandra’s view, GE12 was perhaps the election in which the new ICTs had tremendous impact. The opposition had utilised not just Internet and SMS-es to the fullest and good effect but employed DVDs and other digital technology too for their info dissemination.
Opposition politicians had succeeded in opening up channels of conversation with the young through effective use of the new ICTs, he said.
I will add that those unregulated ICT networks also enabled the evangelista pollies to better tell lies to impressionable and politically naive youngsters, and in the process creating hordes of Dapsters.
Dr Chandra advanced a convincing theory as to how the non-Malay voters are emboldened due to the role played by Anwar.
Drawing on history, he recalled that in the 10 May 1969 general election, the newly formed, mainly Chinese Gerakan had trounced the MCA and MIC in Penang. Gerakan was fronted by a credible Malay face Prof. Syed Hussein Alatas as its president.
Similarly in the 1990 general election, DAP steamrolled the MCA and the MIC in Penang when it teamed up with Semangat 46 led by Tengku Razaleigh.
(And presently post-2013, the DAP is riding on PAS Malays if I may say.)
ATAS: DAP kaduk naik junjung memang kuat melantak dan tak hairanlah betapa bulat jadinya mereka
Dr Chandra summarized:
“Non-Malays felt confident that they could go for the jugular because a Malay leader of stature was prepared to espouse their cause.
“The Chinese in particular were brave enough now to abandon their often cautious and pragmatic approach to political change.”
He said that several NGO magazines were “shamelessly pro-Opposition [and] unwilling to evaluate their favourite opposition leaders on the basis of those standards and principles that they insist Barisan officials adhere to”. I’m certain Dr Chandra is alluding to the Aliran magazine as one of the culprits.
“Much of cyber media was also loaded against the Barisan,” he added.
Dr Chandra pointed out that “[w]henever a government provides some latitude for free expression after decades of authoritarian rule, the ensuing debate often tends to weaken the position of the ruling elite who had in the first instance broadened the scope for dissent”.
This syndrome took its toll on the Badawi administration in 2008’s GE12, Dr Chandra concluded.
Sleepy Dollah and his fourth floor boys opened the floodgates and BN has been hemorrhaging support ever since.
Among the opposition pollies, DAP’s evangelistas have been the ones most responsible for the politics of hate. They have sown distrust and destroyed goodwill, splitting the populace and pitting the people against each other. They have callously and calculatedly entrenched the culture of fitnah in our political landscape.
Whomsoever is aligned with DAP are given the seal of approval as “us” while those who don’t see eye to eye with their Christian politics thrusts are demonized as “them”. To the DAP and its rabid, fanatical followers, Saari and Hasnul are now firmly ensconced in the “us” camp and thus it was no surprise that they were accorded a “hero’s welcome”.
These two renegades risk becoming more DAP than PAS.
PAS does not benefit from the Pakatan set-up. It is exploited and bullied, and when PAS has outlived its usefulness, the party will be discarded. By then, the DAP will have their own Dyana’s to hold the fort.
The opposition pact is more of a vehicle for the DAP ascendency. It’s clear that DAP is miles ahead as the strongest party dominating the pact while PAS is lagging behind and steadily losing ground.
DAP’s direction will inevitably lead it to collide head on with PAS, sooner rather than later. The evangelical interests promoted by DAP are in direct conflict with PAS’s raison d’etre.