As polls opened in Malaysia on 8 March from 8:00 to 17:00, voters cast ballots for 222 parliamentary seats and 12 state legislatures, with voter turnout among Malaysia's 10.9 million eligible voters estimated to be 70 percent. Barisan Nasional won 91 percent of parliamentary seats in 2004 election, but its majority is expected to be clipped this time as it suffers a backlash from ethnic Chinese and Indians. Early vote counting showed the Barisan Nasional was already faring badly in early tallies across the country with the exception of Sabah, Sarawak and Johor, as claimed by Kelantan United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) state chief Annuar Musa. The opposition began claiming using their own estimates that they have denied the government its two-thirds majority in parliament.
Barisan Nasional was able to return to power and form the next government, with a simple majority but without the crucial two-thirds majority in parliament. It is BN's worst performance in Malaysia's general election since independence in 1957, winning only 63.5% (140 out of 222) of parliamentary seats that were contested; the only other time the 14-party coalition failed to win a two-thirds majority was in 1969 when it secured 66% of the seats. Component parties in BN, including the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), and Gerakan, saw its number of state and federal seats severely reduced by half or more. UMNO also saw its number reduce significantly but not by as much as half. Also noted were MIC president S. Samy Vellu, Gerakan acting president Koh Tsu Koon and PPP president M. Kayveas, who were trounced in their respective election contests.
The results of several states have been rather surprising to everybody involved. Many of the states BN have lost are those on the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia where it has traditionally focused most of its attention to. These states experienced more development and investment than other states, and account for much of the country's population. The remaining states that have given BN its simple majority are states that are economically weaker than what the opposition have gained.
Read more about this topic: Malaysian General Election, 2008
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