On Elections

How people elect parliaments

Malaysia

Dewan Rakyat

Specific elections: 2008 – 2013 – 2018

Background

The lower house of the Malaysian Parliament is the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives), an assembly of 222 members.

All members are directly elected in single member divisions by the plurality voting method.

Terms are up to five years.

Division boundaries are redrawn by an Election Commission every ten years based on the population (using the latest census).

 

Elections

Overview

Variations in electoral division voter populations in Malaysian elections are very high – with division variation coefficients of 39%, 42% and 44% at the past three elections. These are easily the most unequal of any of the world’s major electoral democracies. The divisional differences, maintained by the previous long-lasting UNMO governing party, greatly favoured rural voters and in particular those in Sabah and Sarawak states on Borneo, which favoured UNMO. Voters in peninsula states and major urban areas which favoured opposition parties were correspondingly greatly disadvantaged.

In addition the process of re-drawing of boundaries, which last occurred in 2017-18 in preparation for the 2018 elections, was also regarded as involving deliberate gerrymandering in some regions to favour the prospects of candidates for the previous government.

Malaysia’s party registration system is diverse, with multiple smaller parties registering and forming large alliances (featuring high levels of coordination so alliance partners do not to compete in the same electoral divisions) in recent elections. However under the previous government various burdens were placed in the way of the opposition alliance in the lead up to the 2018 elections.

Malaysia had elected the same governing alliance of parties, led by the UNMO party, from the 1960s unto the decisive election of 2018. In 2018 the opposition alliance overcame malapportionment and gerrymandering disadvantages to win a small majority of the seats in the Dewan.

[inequality by margins]

Specific elections: 2008 – 2013 – 2018

 

Data

Sources

 

Dataset

[Datasets are not yet published]

  • Malaysia Dewan Rakyat election results – 2008 and 2013

 

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