Malaysia’s General Election 2008: a comprehensive analysis

(Please also see update and correction dated 17 September 2009 at bottom of this article)

Welcome to this first article on my blog.This blog is mainly focused on analysis of political events in Malaysia, especially the recently concluded 12th General Election results(Pilihanraya Umum Ke 12 tahun 2008). My analytical approach is very comprehensive and firmly based on empirical evidence from publicly available statistical data collected before and after the recent election. My early qualifications, namely B. Econ. and MBA followed by deep interest over the years to test all kind of data in the fields of finance and politics has enabled me to build up a reasonably large data base which are handy to analyze to enable me to get some interesting insights into the current political or financial events.

We have heard a lot of comments on the outcome of the 12th general election over the television and the printed media. Blames were thrown on the Barisan National leadership over the election debacle. Many issues were cited, such as rises in prices of consumer goods, fuel and houses as well as political issues stirred by hindraf and issues on the integrity of the judiciary. There has been a lot of guessing works on the impact of these issues after the election, though Barisan National had actually grossly underestimated these issues. Moreover, other issues later cropped up regarding the choice of election candidates, in particular, dropping of many incumbents in favour of new faces

I have found it very exciting to analyse these issues in a scientific and objective way using a multiple regression model that accomodate many of these factors. The results that I derive, I believe will convincingly answer many questions that we all have been asking. For ease of understanding this article, I will first dwell into the questions, issues and the relevant answers, while leaving the explanations on the regression model at a later stage. It is hoped that this article will generate enough interest among the public at large as well as among the academicians, whom I hope will provide fair and reasonable feedback, comments and constructive criticism, which can hopefully improve our understanding of the impact of election issues on the political, and hence, economic stability of our beloved nation.

How did various races vote (undi mengikut kaum) in the recent general election?

This issue is comprehensively analysed by multiple regression analysis  and the  results are  shown below.

Finding No. 1. How did the Malays vote in the 2008 general election, for or against Barisan National and UMNO, and at what percentage. This issue is critical since Malay votes form the majority in the Peninsular Malaysia. Continued support by the Malays means continued Strength of Barisan National to form a stable government. In my finding, the majority of Malay votes in Peninsular Malaysia, ie 52% were specifically identified as cast for BN. This is a drop of 10 percentage points from the 2004 general election when 62% of Malays identified as voting for Barisan National. On the surface, the shift in Malay votes was less drastic compared to the shift in the chinese and Indian votes. However the actual percentage level of 52% is still critical unless BN is able to excute a correct strategy to improve support among the Malays, while at the same time regaining confidencce and support of other races. Alternatively, ultras in UMNO may prefer to drum up support focusing on racial and religious issues with a view to regain the votes that have deserted, including from PAS. PAS has to realise that, being with the Pakatan Rakyat, it cannot claim to be more religious than UMNO as, like UMNO, they now cannot ignore non muslim issues and demands. Of course, the first strategy is the best option to ensure a stable government supported by all races.

Finding No .2. Chinese votes shifted more than Malay votes, as in the 2008 election 38.1% of Chinese votes could be identified for BN, mainly MCA, compared with 56.4% in the 2004 general election. This is a shift of 18.3 percentage point away from Barisan national. I feel Chinese voting pattern, as usual, is largely a seasonal factor. Obviously, it was affected by the prevailing anti government sentiment at that time. Moreover, should Pakatan Rakyat win,the Chinese based party could play a pivotal role in the Pakatan Rakyat government.

However, this will not be advantageous to the Chinese community, since UMNO and Bumiputera parties can in fact still form the government with nominal representation of the Chinese and Indian communities, leaving both communities in the opposition. Such a scenario is likely o be viewed by the Malays as a challenge to Malay political dominance. This will easily play into the hands of Malay ultras who will drum up racial issues, at the detriment of PKR and PAS, in an emergency general election should there be one.

Finding No 3. The biggest shift in votes, occured as expected, among the Indian community. A very low percentage of Indian voters of approximately 8.3% probably voted for BN, mainly MIC in 2008 election compared with 72.4% in 2004 general election(even such a low 2008 figure could not be verified in this analysis as indicated in the model below). Therefore, I feel it is now of utmost importance for the government to address this issue. As for the Indian community, they may still be wondering how their votes could have this big an impact on the election outcome. But this phenomenon ia not expected to bring much good to the Indian community as they have lost meaningful representaion in the government. Worst still, they don’t control the agenda of Pakatan Rakyat either.

Finding No.4. Another factor also determined the number of votes that BN obtained, namely the status of the BN candidate in his constituency, ie. whether he is a new candidate or whether he is an incumbent and for how many terms. My finding indicates that the votes BN received is positively correlated with this factor, generally the longer the candidate served as YB in his constituency, the more votes he could bring in. However I could not isolate the votes he obtained by race, and further, such votes are usually not large and only impact the voting results in marginal constituencies. As a matter of illustration, for any constituency, a new BN candidate is expected to bring in 0 votes in his own right and 1200 votes if he has four terms as a YB.

Finding No. 5 The percentage of votes that a Barisan Nasional candidate obtained in the previous election has a very important positive impact on the number of votes that BN obtained in the 2008 election.This is very much expected since votes obtained in the previous election can be taken as a measure of voters loyalty to a political party. My regression model however could not segregate the votes racewise, hence figures obtained are in the form of votes without racial breakdown. Again as a matter of illustration, where BN had obtained 65% votes in previous election, this factor is expected to account for 20,000 BN votes in the 2008 election.

Finding No.6. About 19% of votes that BN obtained in 2008 is classified as error terms which could not be explained by the statistical model derived in the analysis.

Satistical Analysis

For the benefits of those familiar and skilled in statistical analysis, I have based the above findings on empirical testing of a hypothesis that the number of votes obtained by Barisan National in Peninsular Malaysia is dependent on a few variables, ie. the relative composition of Malay,Chinese and Indian voters, plus two other variables namely the popularity of the candidate and the traditional strength of BN in a particular constituency. Fairly large samples were taken from Parliamentary constituencies in Peninsular Malaysia both for the 2008 and 2004 elections.Multiple regression analysis were tested on a few models, and the model that best fit the data was selected.


Update 17 September 2009

Small errors were discovered in the data entries of the results for 2008 General Election. A revised computer analysis was done and this gave a slightly more accurate result as shown below:
Gen Election 2008 (corrected)
The above results show that 54.4% of the Malays, 39.5% of the Chinese and and 10.4% of the Indian voters voted for Barisan Nasional in the 2008 General Election.

Note: While I do not claim full accuracy, I am confident that these are close estimates of the actual results.
Copyrights (c) by DAH Ikhwan. This article or any part of it may be reproduced or quoted, but due credit must be given to the original author DAH Ikhwan.

Reminder:[Comments are welcome, but please refrain from making libelous, seditious or defamatory comments]

Please read related articles:

1. 13th  Malaysian General Election 2013: How will the Chinese vote?

2. Perhimpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat di Stadium Merdeka

3.Analisis Undi UMNO dalam Pilihanraya 2008: Kajian Kesetiaan Ahli Parlimen dan Pengundi

4.Muzakarah UMNO dan PAS : Suatu komen dan Analisis


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15 Responses to Malaysia’s General Election 2008: a comprehensive analysis

  1. husin says:

    DAH Ikhwan,

    Saya tertarik dengan servey dan analisis yg u jalankan.
    Saya anggap ianya kurang tepat kerana saiz sample yg terlalu kecil dan ianya tidak menggambarkan ketepatannya.

    Saya rasa ketepatan analisis jika u dapat besarkan sample kepada sekurang2nya 1000 M, 1000 C dan 500 India , I rasa ok.

    Anyway menarik jugak.

  2. DAH Ikhwan says:

    Saudara Husin,

    Terima kasih diatas komen dan teguran saudara. Saya kurang pasti dengan sample size yang sauara maksudkan, kerana walaupun saya hanya menggunakan 164 observation(sample size) ini bukan bererti saya hanya interview 164 0rang sahaja dari setiap kaum. Dalam analisis seperti ini sample size 164 sebenarnya lebih daripada mencukupi. Ia sebenarnya sangat besar dan meliputi keputusan dalam 164 kawasan pilihanraya parlimen di Semenanjung , iaitu kesemua 7 juta undi yang telah dikira dari kaum Melayu, India dan Cina. Tentang ketepatan model yang dihasilkan, ini dapat dilihat daripada R2 value 81% yang bererti 81% keseluruhan undi dapat di explain dengan Model ini. T value bagi setiap regression coefficient of independent variables lebih daripada 1.97 bererti setiap variable yang berkenaan adalah reliable dengan ketepatan(confidence interval) melebihi 95%.Sekian,harap ini dapat menjawab komen saudara dengan tepat serta asas model yang saya hasilkan(untuk keterangan lanjut sila rujuk ke halaman halaman web yang berkenaan dengan t distribution and independent variables analysis)

    DAH Ikhwan

  3. PottGlozy says:

    Nice site!


  4. good luck again but your job

  5. Pingback: Analisis Undi UMNO dalam Pilihanraya 2008: Kajian Kesetiaan Ahli Parlimen dan Pengundi « DAH IKHWAN Weblog

  6. Pingback: Muzakarah UMNO dan PAS : Suatu komen dan Analisis « DAH IKHWAN Weblog

  7. Pingback: Statistik Keputusan Pilihanraya Umum Tahun 2008 (PRU 12) « DAH IKHWAN Weblog

  8. Pingback: Pilihanraya Kecil Hulu Selangor P.94: Analisis Situasi dan Ramalan « DAH IKHWAN Weblog

  9. Hello, this is a really fascinating web blog and ive loved reading several of the articles and posts contained upon the site, sustain the great work and hope to read a lot more exciting articles in the time to come.

  10. ----@ says:

    1. 54.4% Melayu, 39.5% Cina dan 10.4% India undi BN pada PRU12. Maaf jika saya silap, adakah ini hanya menunjukkan pola pengundian mengikut kaum di Semenanjung atau seluruh Malaysia? Bagaimanakah pula pecahan kaum (e.g., BI, BBI, & Cina) di Sabah dan Sarawak yang mengundi BN pada PRU12?

    2. Bila kita bandingkan PRU12 dan PRU13 berdasarkan analisis tuan, nampaknya (i) Undi Melayu pada 308 hampir dipecah dua untuk BN dan PR tetapi pada 505 hampir 2/3 Melayu menyokong BN. Satu peningkatan. (ii) undi Cina merosot teruk sama sekali dari 2004 ke 2008 hingga 2013. (iii) undi India meningkat tetapi tidak lah pada tahap PRU11.

    3. Untuk BN terus berkuasa, diharap lebih tumpukan kepada undi Melayu, India dan Anak Negeri Sabah dan Sarawak kerana saya menjangkakan sokongan Cina kepada DAP akan bertambah lebih mantap. Harap Najib tidak lagi pukul gendang semasa CNY untuk menarik sokongan Cina.

    Terima kasih.

  11. DAH IKHWAN says:

    Analisis kita pada PRU 12 ialah untuk untuk Semenanjung Malaysia sahaja, seperti juga pada PRU 13, jadi di sini kita boleh bandingkan apple with apple.

    Saya setuju pandangan saudara untuk BN sepatutnya memberi fokus kepada mengukuhkan sokongan dikalangan Melayu, India dan Bumiputera Sabah dan Sarawak. Pandangan beberapa pemimpin BN mengkaji untuk BN dijadikan sebuah parti sahaja, saya rasa mereka jangan buang masa sebab jalan dihadapan sudah jelas. Bagaimanapun BN sepatutnya elak daripada menindas kaum Cina, perlu kaji dimana kesilapan dalam menangani polisi terhadap kaum bukan Bumiputera, dan perlu bertolak ansur dimana sesuai.

  12. ----@ says:

    Saya tidak setuju dengan beberapa perkara yang tuan perkatakan. Izinkan saya menerangkan mengapa:

    1. Persepsi Cina ditindas oleh BN/UMNO berjaya diserap ke dalam fikiran Cina oleh DAP. Sama ada ianya benar atau tidak, hasilnya dilihat Cina berduyun-duyun mengundi DAP tetapi majoriti Melayu (termasuk B/I di Sabah dan Sarawak) berjaya kemaraan Cina ke Putrajaya. Jika Najib masih tidak nampak siapa yang sebenarnya kuat menyokong beliau, dikhuatiri Melayu akan ambil hati. Diharap Najib boleh membaca isyarat ini dengan penuh keinsafan.

    2. Polisi terhadap Cina “terkandung” dalam Perlembagaan walaupun tidak dinyatakan sebegitu cara. Cina ingin hak sama rata tetapi Perlembagaan tidak mengizinkan sedemikian. Dipujuk pula oleh Anwar, Cina percaya mereka ada peluang untuk menikmati kesamarataan jika mengundi PR. Barangkali Anwar tidak berterus terang dengan Cina bahawa perkara-perkara tertentu dalam Perlembagaan tidak dapat dimansuhkan sekalipun PR menjadi regim baru di Putrajaya. Untuk menawan hati Cina, Najib perlu fokus kepada soal ekonomi. Perkembangan ekonomi dirancakkan, GDP dipertingkatkan, pelaburan dalam infrastruktur ditekankan, rasuah diperangi, peluang ekonomi diperbanyakkan, “new areas of economic growth” dikenalpasti, subsidi dikurangkan, dsb, Jika ekonomi rancak, sokongan Cina barangkali boleh ditingkatkan. Walaupun saya agak skeptikal dengan sokongan Cina kepada BN pada PRU14 nanti, sekiranya BN boleh memperolehi sekurang-kurangnya 25% undi Cina, itu sudah dikira bagus.

    3. Saya tidak nampak selepas 505 apa lagi yang harus dibuat oleh Najib untuk bertolak ansur dengan Cina kerana walaupun sudah banyak Najib lakukan untuk mengambil hati orang Cina pada pra-PRU13, tetapi jelas Najib ditolak oleh Cina. Sedih tapi benar, tiada apa lagi yang boleh Najib lakukan untuk mengubah ini. Tambahan pula, DAP berjaya mencengkam media sosial supaya Cina lebih percaya kepada apa yang dikhabarkan di alam sana.

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