KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 – For the first time in Malaysian history, the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition stared at defeat as it lost to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) whose victory – aided by the sweeping tsunami rakyat nationwide – saw it win 113 of the 222 parliamentary seats in the 14th general election (GE14) yesterday.
The GE14 results clearly show that Malaysians have voted for change, rejecting the 63-year BN reign which finally came to an end with PH, a loose coalition comprising Parti Keadilan Rakyat, DAP, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM).
Besides maintaining the mandate in Selangor and Penang, PH also conquered Negri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor and won enough seats to form the Federal Government. It also almost captured Kedah, Perak and Sabah.
Dubbed as the ‘mother of all elections’, analysts said among the reasons why BN was robbed of a victory was the wave factor of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was seen as the right leader to solve the nation’s woes such as high cost of living, debts and bankruptcy.
Other issues involved the sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), alleged Felda Jalan Semarak land grab and the Anti-Fake News Act which was passed just before the general election.
A political analyst, Associate Professor Dr Ahmad Marthada Mohamed has described the BN defeat as having been caused by a rare Malay tsunami in both urban and rural areas, in which the people had to rise to show their dissatisfaction with some government policies leading to high cost of living.
“We have not seen the Malay tsunami for a long time and today, we see traditional Umno and BN strongholds are now under PH control. This is because of high cost of living, an issue very close to the hearts of rural Malays, especially.
“The rural rakyat has been feeling the pinch, suffering and facing difficulties. That is why they want to show the BN government that these issues must be solved delicately and efficiently,” the College of Law, Government and Internationl Studies dean at Universiti Utara Malaysia told Bernama.
On the other hand, he said, Dr Mahathir was continuously emphasising on abolishing the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which had a greater impact on the cost of living. Universiti Sains Malaysia political scientist Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian attributed the shocking loss of the BN governement to the silent majority which had spoken, and the sentiment of GST, cost of living and the Mahathir-wave, among others. — Bernama