The Malaysian 15th General Election (GE15) is just a few days away, and many Malaysians – especially first-time voters – are understandably eager to participate and carry out their civic duty (and of course, post their inked finger on social media) to determine the future of our country for the next 5 years.
With that in mind, here’s a quick rundown of how the election system in Malaysia works, what are some common terminologies that you might encounter during campaign season, how to check your voter status, and a quick summary of the political parties involved.
Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy (led by the Prime Minister), and a constitutional monarchy in which the king (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) plays a largely ceremonial role, although he has certain discretionary powers.
A total of 945 candidates will be vying for the 222 parliamentary seats in GE15. The election process is based on the ‘first-past-the-post’ system, which means the party or coalition that wins 112 seats – the number needed for a simple majority in the 222-seat lower house of parliament – will form a government.
In Malaysia, voting is not compulsory and turnout usually fluctuates. About 21.1 million Malaysians are eligible to vote in GE15, with approximately five million being first-time voters, largely as a result of the government lowering the minimum voting age to 18 years from 21 last year.
No single political party has ever formed a government on its own, and Malaysia’s multi-ethnic society has a major influence on the composition of coalitions. The two main coalitions vying to form government are Barisan Nasional (BN), which is the current ruling coalition, and the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH). Other coalition contenders include Perikatan Nasional (PN), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Gabungan Rakyat Sarawak (GRS), and Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA).
- Barisan Nasional (BN) is currently led by Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (UMNO)
- Pakatan Harapan (PH) is currently led by Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR)
- Perikana Nasional (PN) is currently led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (BERSATU)
Of all the parties, Umno, PKR and Pejuang are contesting in the most number of parliament seats.
Some of the words and phrases used during election season may seem new and/or confusing, especially when people use the Bahasa Malaysia and English versions interchangeably. Here are some common terms you might see and what they mean.
- PRU15 (Pilihanraya Umum Ke-15) = GE15 (15th General Election)
- Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia (SPR) = Election Commission of Malaysia (EC)
- Kerajaan persekutuan = Federal government
- Kerajaan negeri = State government
- Parti politik = Political party
- Gabungan = Coalition
DUN (Dewan Undangan Negeri)
- Also known as Dewan Negeri
- State Assembly
- Chosen during state election
- Term of office: 5 years
- Handle affairs within the respective states
- Also known as Dewan Rakyat or House of Representatives
- Member of Parliament (MP)
- Chosen during General Election
- Term of office: 5 years
- Handle affairs on the national level
Check Voting Status, Location & Candidates
Head over to the Election Commission’s official website https://mysprsemak.spr.gov.my to check:
– Voter registration details
– Election candidates
– Election results
Remember to screenshot or print out your voter registration details so that you won’t forget where to vote, especially the pusat megundi (polling station), saluran (channel) and bilangan (number).
Do’s & Don’ts On Voting Day
Voting day is an exciting occasion, but it can also involve long queues in unpredictable weather, so here are some do’s and don’ts come 19 November 2022.
- Your original MyKad (NRIC)
- Bring your mobile phone to keep yourself occupied but refrain from making loud phone calls or crazy TikTok videos
- Bring an umbrella; you never know if it will rain or shine
- A bottle of water to keep hydrated
- A powerbank if you plan to use your mobile phone for extended periods of time
- Save a screenshot and double check your registration information
- Check your ballot paper to ensure it is not torn, misprinted or marked
- Wear clothes and/or accessories that represent any political party
- Get a manicure before going for voting, especially dark nail polish
- Record or take photos of yourself while voting
With that said, voters CANNOT wear clothing that display any political party or candidate, but you CAN wear everything else as the SPR does not have a specific dress code, so if you feel like cosplaying as Ultraman or an anime character or just your fanciest cultural outfit, they can’t really stop you… Just don’t wear anything illegal or too revealing.
Remember, your vote can change the country’s future for the better. Selamat mengundi!