2004 Malaysian general election

General elections were held in Malaysia on Sunday, 21 March 2004. Voting took place in all 219 parliamentary constituencies, each electing one Member of Parliament to the Dewan Rakyat, the dominant house of Parliament. They were the first elections for Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister following his appointment in 2003. State elections also took place in 505 state constituencies in twelve of the thirteen states (except Sarawak) on the same day as Sabah took the first time election was parallel with the rest of Peninsular Malaysia.

2004 Malaysian general election

21 March 2004

All 219 seats in the Dewan Rakyat
110 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Abdul Hadi Awang Kerk Kim Hock
Party BN Barisan Alternatif DAP
Last election 56.52%, 148 seats 40.28%, 42 seats 12.74%, 10 seats
Seats won 198 8 12
Seat change 50 34 2
Popular vote 4,437,919 1,672,350 687,350
Percentage 63.82 24.05% 9.88%
Swing 7.30pp 16.23pp 2.86pp

Results by constituency

Prime Minister before election

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

Prime Minister-designate

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

The Barisan Nasional received 64% of the vote (but would have gained a higher vote had all seats been contested) and won 198 seats to the combined opposition parties' 20 seats, with one independent. This was the largest majority that the Barisan Nasional had won since the 1978. The dominant party in the National Front, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), won 109 seats, a gain of 37. UMNO's allies also gained seats; the Malaysian Chinese Association won 31 seats, a gain of two, and the Malaysian Indian Congress won nine seats, a gain of two.

The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) managed to retain only seven of its 27 seats. PAS ran on a platform promising an Islamic nation. The PAS opposition leader, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, lost his parliamentary seat. Another opposition party, the People's Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Nasional) lost four of its five seats. After five recounts the party's leader, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (the wife of imprisoned former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim), retained her seat with a majority of 590 votes.

The third opposition party, the Democratic Action Party (DAP), which was routed in the 1999 elections, improved its performance with the re-election of party chairman Lim Kit Siang in Ipoh Timor seat and his deputy, Karpal Singh in Bukit Gelugor seat although chairman Kerk Kim Hock lost his seat. The DAP won 12 seats and regained the official leadership of the opposition in the national parliament from PAS.

Most candidates who campaigned on platforms of Islamic issues lost their seats. This was a significant turnaround compared to the previous elections, where generally the more "Islamic" candidates had a greater chance of winning in the Malay heartland.


On 2 March, the tenth national parliament and all state assemblies in Malaysia (with the exception of Sarawak) were dissolved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong upon the advice of the Prime Minister. Sarawak's last state election was held in 2001, and elections for the state assembly were not due till 2006.

The elections were held nine months earlier than required by the constitution. The constitution allowed for a parliamentary term of up to five years. Elections were required to be called three months after parliament is dissolved. The government had until the end of November 2004 to call elections.


Candidates were nominated on 13 March, with the National Front winning 15 seats uncontested, and another two seats after the opposing candidates withdrew. The right to withdraw was only introduced as a new rule at these elections. Under this rule candidates are allowed a three-day period to withdraw following nomination day. Of the 17 parliamentary seats won uncontested, nine were in the state of Sabah, six in Sarawak and two in Johor.

PAS won a state assembly seat Senggarang in Johor for the first time, after the National Front candidate was disqualified because she was seconded by someone who was not a registered voter in the constituency that she wanted to contest. The requirement that the seconder be registered in the same constituency was only introduced in 2004. This seat was influenced by other opposition parties to gain many state seat in 2008 contest.


The elections were marred by discrepancies, which were admitted by the electoral authorities. The head of the Election Commission (Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman) made the statement "I have been in this line for so long... it should not have happened at all. There must be reasons why this happened." He has served in the election commission for the last five elections, and has stated that he intends to resign if a report on the discrepancies implicates him in the foul-ups.

Among the discrepancies were wrongly printed ballots, registered voters being unable to vote and wide discrepancies in votes in various seats upon re-counting the ballots.

In the seat of Sungai Lembing in state of Pahang, the Keadilan symbol was printed wrongly on the ballot paper for PAS candidate Idris Ahmad. Illiterate voters tend to rely on familiar party symbols for voting purposes as they are unable to read the candidate's names on the ballot. Voting was suspended for 5 hours before resuming. Polling was re-held for the seat on 28 March.[1]


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation2,483,25935.71109+37
Malaysian Chinese Association1,074,23015.4531+2
Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia257,6633.7110+4
Malaysian Indian Congress221,5463.199+2
Sarawak United Peoples' Party102,0571.476–1
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu80,4081.16110
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party49,4830.714New
Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak46,2920.6760
United Sabah Party26,5040.384+1
People's Progressive Party20,1290.291+1
Liberal Democratic Party8,2080.120–1
Sabah Progressive Party7,1430.1020
Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah5,8800.081+1
Barisan AlternatifPan-Malaysian Islamic Party1,062,07815.277–20
People's Justice Party617,1698.881–4
Democratic Action Party687,3509.8812+2
Sarawak National Party28,4810.410–4
State Reform Party6,2700.0900
United Democratic Sabah People's Power Party2,1430.030New
Malaysian Democratic Party1,1070.0200
United Pasok Nunukragang National Organisation5430.010New
Valid votes6,953,62797.71
Invalid/blank votes163,1902.29
Total votes7,116,817100.00
Registered voters/turnout9,755,09772.95


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation402,63047.6916+3
Malaysian Chinese Association232,25127.518+2
Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia18,9972.251New
Malaysian Indian Congress17,9532.1310
Barisan AlternatifPan-Malaysian Islamic Party73,9468.7600
People's Justice Party39,4284.6700
Democratic Action Party59,0136.9900
Valid votes844,21897.19
Invalid/blank votes24,4472.81
Total votes868,665100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,184,78873.32


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation334,29551.3612+7
Malaysian Chinese Association54,6488.4020
Barisan AlternatifPan-Malaysian Islamic Party184,85028.401–7
People's Justice Party77,10211.8500
Valid votes650,89597.92
Invalid/blank votes13,7952.08
Total votes664,690100.00
Registered voters/turnout821,90180.87


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation262,37750.128+7
Barisan AlternatifPan-Malaysian Islamic Party202,10338.616–4
People's Justice Party52,82410.090–3
Valid votes523,50297.78
Invalid/blank votes11,9082.22
Total votes535,410100.00
Registered voters/turnout662,72280.79

Kuala Lumpur

Party or allianceVotes%Seats
Barisan NasionalMalaysian Chinese Association108,54524.082
Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia78,20717.352
United Malays National Organisation77,14117.123
Democratic Action Party109,33924.264
Barisan AlternatifPeople's Justice Party57,03312.650
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party19,1834.260
Malaysian Democratic Party1,1070.250
Valid votes450,68799.19
Invalid/blank votes3,6940.81
Total votes454,381100.00
Registered voters/turnout670,92067.73


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation11,08777.6810
Barisan AlternatifPeople's Justice Party3,18622.3200
Valid votes14,27396.69
Invalid/blank votes4883.31
Total votes14,761100.00
Registered voters/turnout22,00667.08


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation121,64347.414+1
Malaysian Chinese Association61,13723.832+1
Democratic Action Party38,37014.960–1
Barisan AlternatifPeople's Justice Party19,7617.7000
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party15,6536.1000
Valid votes256,56496.98
Invalid/blank votes7,9973.02
Total votes264,561100.00
Registered voters/turnout345,91776.48

Negeri Sembilan

Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation121,71540.175+1
Malaysian Chinese Association61,55120.3120
Malaysian Indian Congress28,4949.4010
Barisan AlternatifPan-Malaysian Islamic Party31,01010.2300
People's Justice Party19,4806.4300
Democratic Action Party40,75213.4500
Valid votes303,00296.86
Invalid/blank votes9,8283.14
Total votes312,830100.00
Registered voters/turnout429,78672.79


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation205,27848.8610+2
Malaysian Chinese Association68,94016.4130
Malaysian Indian Congress10,2262.431New
Barisan AlternatifPan-Malaysian Islamic Party79,60418.9500
People's Justice Party31,0817.4000
Democratic Action Party24,9915.9500
Valid votes420,12097.62
Invalid/blank votes10,2342.38
Total votes430,354100.00
Registered voters/turnout570,12675.48


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation108,49821.714+1
Malaysian Chinese Association87,82217.5710
Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia87,79017.573+1
Democratic Action Party135,12527.0440
Barisan AlternatifPeople's Justice Party61,41012.2910
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party19,1093.8200
Valid votes499,75497.90
Invalid/blank votes10,7122.10
Total votes510,466100.00
Registered voters/turnout672,36275.92


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation182,40423.8211+2
Malaysian Chinese Association166,37821.734–2
Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia51,3786.7130
Malaysian Indian Congress35,7424.6720
People's Progressive Party20,1292.631+1
Barisan AlternatifPan-Malaysian Islamic Party106,02213.840–2
People's Justice Party68,7038.9700
Democratic Action Party135,05617.643+2
Valid votes765,81297.21
Invalid/blank votes21,9692.79
Total votes787,781100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,170,35167.31


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation58,18863.7230
Barisan AlternatifPan-Malaysian Islamic Party33,13236.2800
Valid votes91,32098.12
Invalid/blank votes1,7531.88
Total votes93,073100.00
Registered voters/turnout112,48282.74


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation93,83130.6813–1
United Sabah Party26,5048.674+1
Liberal Democratic Party8,2082.680–1
Sabah Progressive Party7,1432.3420
Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah5,8801.921New
Barisan AlternatifPeople's Justice Party33,00010.7900
Democratic Action Party8,5122.7800
United Democratic Sabah People's Power Party2,1430.700New
United Pasok Nunukragang National Organisation5430.180New
Valid votes305,82896.36
Invalid/blank votes11,5593.64
Total votes317,387100.00
Registered voters/turnout512,49061.93


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalSarawak United Peoples' Party102,05724.146–1
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu80,40819.02110
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party49,48311.714New
Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak46,29210.9560
Democratic Action Party67,55615.981+1
Sarawak National Party28,4816.740–4
Barisan AlternatifPeople's Justice Party5,4201.2800
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party1,0350.2400
State Reform Party6,2701.4800
Valid votes422,68498.54
Invalid/blank votes6,2761.46
Total votes428,960100.00
Registered voters/turnout695,96961.63


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation280,22527.7310+2
Malaysian Chinese Association232,95823.057+1
Malaysian Indian Congress129,13112.784+1
Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia21,2912.111+1
Barisan AlternatifPan-Malaysian Islamic Party143,94614.2400
People's Justice Party130,75212.9400
Democratic Action Party68,6366.7900
Valid votes1,010,54797.86
Invalid/blank votes22,1362.14
Total votes1,032,683100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,422,27472.61


Party or allianceVotes%Seats+/–
Barisan NasionalUnited Malays National Organisation219,86156.408+8
Barisan AlternatifPan-Malaysian Islamic Party149,29938.300–7
People's Justice Party20,6355.290–1
Valid votes389,79598.39
Invalid/blank votes6,3661.61
Total votes396,161100.00
Registered voters/turnout455,92486.89

See also

  • 2004 Malaysian state elections

Further reading

  • Lim, Hong-Hai; Ong, Kiang-Min (2006). The 2004 General Election and the Electoral Process in Malaysia. Between Consolidation and Crisis: Elections and Democracy in Five Nations in Southeast Asia. Berlin: Lit. pp. 147–214.


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