Parliamentary Chamber: Dewan Rakyat


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  Dewan Rakyat

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  24 April 1995
25 April 1995

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the House of Representatives following the premature dissolution of Parliament on 5 April 1995. General elections had previously been held in October 1990.

Background and outcome of elections:

  General elections had previously been held in October 1990. On 5 April 1995, Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad announced the dissolution of Parliament; the election date was set two days later.

Polling for the 192 seats of the newly expanded House of Representatives was held simultaneously with that for 11 of the country’s 13 State Assemblies, which in turn choose federal Senators. During the 10-day campaign, there was a ban on mass election rallies. However, parties were allowed to organise meet-the-people sessions and other methods to reach the voters. The ruling National Front (Barisan Nasional) – a 14-party multi-ethnic (Malays, Chinese and Indian) coalition, led by Prime Minister’s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) – was confronted by a relatively weak and divided opposition, most notably the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). The Front, in power since 1959, pointed to its positive record both in the economic field (at least 8% growth annually since 1987), following wide-ranging free-market policies, and in improving race relations between the majority Malays, who are Muslim, and especially the business-oriented Chinese community. Mr. Mahatir, Prime Minister since 1981, stated: “The major thrust of our campaign will be future development and continuity of development”. His rivals, especially the Chinese-backed DAP headed by Mr. Lim Kit Siang, attacked the Government with allegations of corruption and undemocratic conduct; they also criticised the campaign rules which, they felt, gave an unfair advantage to the UMNO, particularly in media use. Altogether, 428 candidates were in contention.

Polling day results gave a record landslide victory to the National Front and the UMNO, which analysts largely attributed to Mr. Mahathir’s popularity and interpreted as an endorsement of his successful policies. While the ruling coalition obtained the two-thirds majority required for unilateral constitutional amendment and won out in the key Chinese-majority State of Penang, it fell short of a clean sweep by failing to triumph in the mostly Islamic State of Kelantan. The DAP, for its part, lost 11 seats, retaining only nine. Given this overall outcome, Mr. Mahathir continued in office and his new Cabinet was formed on 8 May.

Round no 1 (24 and 25 April 1995): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 9,012,370
Voters 71.81%

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
National Front (BN) 162 +35
Democratic Action Party (DAP) 9 -11
Sabah United Party (PBS) 8 -6
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) 7 =
Semangat ‘46 6 -2
Independents 0 -4

  The National Front (BN) is composed of the following parties:
  • United Malays National Organisation (UMNO): 89 seats
  • Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA): 30 seats
  • Sarawak National Front parties: 27 seats
  • Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC): 7 seats
  • Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia: 7 seats
  • Others: 2 seats

    12 seats added since last elections

  • Distribution of seats according to sex:  
    Men: 177
    Women: 15

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    Copyright 1995 Inter-Parliamentary Union