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  Dewan Rakyat
Dates of election / renewal (from/to):
  21 March 2004
Purpose of elections:
  Elections were held for all the seats in the House of Representatives on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.
Background and outcome of elections:
  On 4 March 2004, King Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin officially dissolved Parliament on the advice of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, paving the way for general elections. Subsequently the Elections Commission set the general elections for 21 March 2004. State assemblies were also dissolved to pave the way for state-level elections with the exception of the East Malaysian state of Sarawak, which held state-level elections in 2001.

The electoral campaign began after the nominations closed, which happened just eight days before the polls, making this the shortest contest in Malaysia's history.

The polls were widely considered as a referendum on the agenda and open policies of the country's new leader, Mr. Badawi, known as a consensus builder. In October 2003, he replaced Mr. Mahathir Mohamad (who had been 22 years in power) at the helm of Malaysia's dominant Umno party as well as the multiethnic National Front coalition of which Umno is a member.

Having become Prime Minister by appointment, Mr. Abdullah Badawi was asking the electors for a mandate. He campaigned on an anticorruption platform, and advocated a moderate, progressive version of Islam. He also promised to tackle poverty.

When the country last voted in 1999, the coalition government suffered one of its worst setbacks in its 47 years in power, as the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), which pledges to turn Malaysia into a strict Islamic nation, had tripled its parliamentary seats amid discontent among Muslim ethnic Malays. However, according to political analysts, for the 2004 elections, the opposition was up against a much tougher task, as the country had an increasingly buoyant economy and there were many voters, especially the Chinese and Indian minorities, who feared Islamic fundamentalism. Another factor that could help the National Front coalition was that the issue of the arrest and jailing of the former Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Anwar Ibrahim, a stain on Malaysia's human rights record, had faded away. In 1999, support for the deposed Deputy Prime Minister's call for reform was at its peak, while in 2004 it seemed that Mr. Abdullah Badawi was carrying out many of the reforms that Anwar stood for.

Nationally, the ruling coalition obtained 64.4 per cent of the vote (198 of 219 seats), surpassing the 146 needed for a two-thirds majority. The PAS, which had boasted 26 MPs in the outgoing 193-strong House of Representatives obtained just seven in the enlarged 219-seat assembly.

The ruling coalition also won back two states that had been controlled by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party and dominated in Malaysia's 11 other states.

Mr. Abdullah Badawi was sworn in as Prime Minister on 22 March 2004. The newly elected House of Representatives held its first session on 17 May 2004.
Round no 1 (21 March 2004): Election results
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers 7'104'597
Valid votes 2'658'123
Round no 1: Distribution of votes
Political Group Candidates Votes %  
National Front (BN) 4'420'452 63.90  
Democratic Action Party (DAP) 687'340 9.90  
Alternative Front 1'668'998 24.10  
Round no 1: Distribution of seats
Political Group Total Gain/loss
National Front (BN) 199 52
Democratic Action Party (DAP) 12 2
Alternative Front 7
Independents 1
The National Front:
- United Malays National Organisation (110 seats)
- Malaysian Chinese Association (31 seats)
- Malaysian People's Movement (10 seats)
- Malaysian Indian Congress (9 seats)
- Other National Front parties (39 seats)

Alternative Front:
- People's Justice Party (1 seat)
- Islamic Party of Malaysia (6 seats)

- Democratic Action Party (12 seats)
- Individual Candidate: (1 seat)

Source: Dewan Rakyat - House of Representatives (18.02.2005)
Distribution of seats according to sex:
Men: 199
Women: 20
Percent of women: 9.13
Distribution of seats according to age:
Distribution of seats according to profession:


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