Challenges That Face Democracy In Malaysia Politics Essay

The basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled in society are the essential of human dignity. The rights of human cannot replace nor can be against each other. Socialists protect the rights of Malaysia citizen and protect individual safety, freedom of belief, free expression of opinion, and freedom of association and protection from torment and humiliation. Socialists are devoted to achieving freedom from hunger and wants from Malaysia citizen, actual community security and the rights to work.

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The countrywide struggles for democratic socialism for the years revealed differences in policy and difference on legislative provisions. These reflect the different histories and pluralism of diverse societies. Socialists do not possess the proposal for a fixed and decisive society, which cannot be changed, reformed or supplementary developed.

Solidarity is the influential weapon in the struggle against unkindness and unfairness and it embraces all the citizen in Malaysia. Equality is the precondition of free development of personality. It does not mean regularity and levelling out, but opposition against exploitation and against the rights of those controlling economic and political authority. There must be equal rights and opportunities for the different cultures within each society as well as equal right to use for everyone in Malaysia.

Democratic socialism uphold the authority to rule and anxiety for the well-being of people of all classes, the right to a civilized and hygienic environment, the right to inclusive education and training, as well as the ability to contribute in administration and all decision-making processes.

Democratic party Malaysia
Around 50 years ago, Malaysia began practising parliamentary democracy when the first post-independence general election was held in 1959. An important aspect of the democratic system is elections. Elections in the practice of democracy constitute a social contract between the people and the candidate or party that succeeds to form a government.
Barisan National (coalition)
United Malays National Organization

The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu in Malay, is the largest political party in Malaysia and a founding member of the Barisan Nasional coalition, which has ruled the country uninterrupted since independence.

After the British returned to Malaya in the aftermath of World War II, the independence movement started to take wing to oppose the British plan of a Malayan Union. A series of Malay congresses were held, culminating in the formation of UMNO on May 11, 1946 at the Third Malay Congress in Johor Bahru, with Datuk Onn Jaafar at its head.

However, membership in UMNO was and continues to be limited to members of the Malay (bumiputra) race, and Onn Jaafar’s attempt to change this policy and the party’s name into the United Malaya National Organisation was rejected in 1951. Onn Jaafar resigned in protest, but his role was taken up by Tunku Abdul Rahman who steered the country to independence in 1957.

Malaysian Chinese Association

The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) is a political party in Malaysia, made up of Malaysian Chinese and one of the three major parties that make up the ruling Barisan Nasional, or National Front.

Along with the larger UMNO and the smaller Malaysian Indian Congress, the MCA has a heavy influence on the politics of the country. Through its holding company Huaren Holdings, the MCA also controls five significant newspapers: The Star, Malaysia’s best-selling English newspaper; Sin Chew Jit Poh, the best-selling Chinese newspaper; and smaller Chinese dailies China Press, Nanyang Siang Pau, and Guang Ming. The Malaysian Chinese Association was formed on 27 Feb 1949 with Sir Tun Tan Cheng Lock as the inaugural President.

The MCA is form to safeguard democracy and freedom of the citizen in Malaysia safeguard the legitimate rights of the Chinese community. The party desire to strive for equal status for all races in the country and uphold social justice. In addition, MCA is to promote racial harmony and national unity and national economic and social development

Malaysian Indian Congress

The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) is one of the oldest political parties of Malaysia, established in August 1946. It was established in the cause of the continuing struggle of the inter-war tears, to end British Colonial rule, as well as in the require for representation on behalf of Indian Community in the post war development of the country. Its founder President was John A. Thivy (1946-1947).

The Party was committed to the attainment of freedom and democracy for the country. Besides that, MIC desires to build a positive inter-racial harmony and cooperation. General prosperity and stability of the country and a fair share for the Indian community in the future of the country also the attainment that MIC want to accomplish.

Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia

Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia was founded in 1968. Since then, the party have been growing from strength to strength despite external constraints and internal problems. Through sincere leadership, practical strategies and non-communal approaches, the party have been successful in obtaining support to strive for a democratic united Malaysia characterized by racial harmony, social justice, economic equality, political democracy and cultural liberalism. As a relatively young party, the party has encountered moments of triumph and suffering in the struggle.

The current leader of Gerakan is Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon who won the post of President uncontested in the 2008 party elections. As of 2006[update], about 80% of Gerakan’s members are ethnic Chinese, another 15% are Indian, and the rest are Malays or other races.

The PGRM have been complimented as well as criticized. But all the same, the party never faltered in faith. Integrity and ability have again and again been proven through deeds and words, both internal and outside the government sphere. The receptivity to people’s criticism and advice, and sensitivity to the citizen needs and aspirations are the two major elements that make the party a dynamic and resilient political force in the national arena.

The party suffered its worst electoral defeat in the 2008 General Election, which saw the party retaining only two parliament seats, compared to the 10 seats it had before the election. As a result, the party lost its only cabinet post in the ensuing cabinet shuffle. In addition, Gerakan also lost power in Penang after governing the state for almost 39 years.

Liberal Democratic Party (Malaysia)

The Liberal Democratic Party is a Chinese political party originally founded in the town of Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia by Hiew Min Kong in 1989.

The party is considered a minor political party in Malaysia, having its base mainly in Sabah. Its sole parliamentary seat in the Dewan Rakyat is the Sandakan seat which was won by the party’s president, Liew Vui Keong in the 2008 General Elections under the Barisan Nasional ticket.

The objectives of Liberal Democratic Party Sabah are to honour and protect the Constitution of Malaysia and to uphold the principles of the Rukun Negara. To strive for and establish a fair and equal society regardless of racial origin or belief and to inspire into the people the spirit of mutual respect, tolerance and friendliness in a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society. LDP wish to eliminate corruption in all forms in the Government and to ensure the establishment of a government fully accountable to the people. LDP safeguard the interests of Sabah within the context of Malaysia and co-operate with other political organisations with similar aims and objectives on a Malaysian basis in joint political activities.

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Barisan Alternatif (coalition)
Democratic Action Party

The DAP or Democratic Action Party was founded on 18th March 1966. Using its symbol of the Rocket, the DAP had contested in 10 general elections from 1969 to 2008.

The vision of the party is to create a peaceful and successful social democracy that can unite the different races and diverse religions and cultures based on a Malaysian Malaysia concept by forging Malaysian race with universal moral values and offering equal rights and opportunity. The party is democratic governance and rule of law and creating wealth and distributing wealth equitably. The party is fighting against corruption as well

The DAP is committed to the fight for a free, democratic socialist Malaysian Malaysia, based on the principles of human rights, equality, social and economic justice, and founded on the institution of parliamentary democracy.

As democratic socialists or social democrats, the party is desire a social environment whereby there can be liberated development of the human personality within the community.

As a member of Socialist International (SI), DAP is one with democratic socialists or social democrats throughout the world fighting for the cause of humanity and social democracy. DAP is in solidarity with oppressed peoples who oppose unjust wars and production of weapons for war and who advocate peace and prosperity based on equal co-operation aided by scientific knowledge and technical advancement.

Early electoral successes and related events

The DAP contested a general election for the first time in 1969. In line with their commitment to equality, the DAP originally campaigned against Bumiputra privileges, such as those afforded to them by Article 153 of the Constitution. Article 153 is one of the most controversial articles in the Malaysian constitution. Critics consider it to create an unnecessary and racialist distinction between Malaysians of different ethnic backgrounds, because it has led to the implementation of affirmative action policies which only benefit the Bumiputra, who comprise a majority of the population. They also continued Lee Kuan Yew’s campaign for a Malaysian Malaysia, the idea of which was originally conveyed by Lee in Parliament: “Malaysia – to whom does it belong? To Malaysians. But who are Malaysians? I hope I am, Mr Speaker, Sir. But sometimes, sitting in this chamber, I doubt whether I am allowed to be a Malaysian.”

The DAP went on to win 13 Parliamentary seats and 31 State Assembly seats, with 11.9% of all valid votes that were cast in the election; the Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan) which campaigned on a similar platform also made major gains. The 1969 election marked the biggest gains ever made by an opposition party in Malaysia (before 2008), and came close to seeing the ruling Alliance toppled from power. However, a march made by the DAP along with Gerakan as part of the opposition team led to violence, and resulted in what was euphemistically termed the May 13 Incident. Parliament was suspended for two years, and the executive branch of the government assumed power.

When Parliament reconvened, it passed pieces of legislation such as the Sedition Act that illegalised discussion of repealing certain portions of the Constitution. Most of these concerned Bumiputra privileges, such as Article 153. The DAP and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) were the only parties that voted against the Act, which passed by a vote of 125 to 17.

After the 1969 election, the DAP would never come close to repeating its past successes for the next 38 years. Although the DAP remained a major opposition party, the ruling coalition had clung solidly to its two-thirds parliamentary majority. The DAP, however, continued campaigning on its platform of abolishing the Bumiputra privileges, giving equal rights for all Malaysians regardless of race and establishing a democratic socialist state in Malaysia.

During the Mahathir administration in 1987, several DAP leaders, including Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, were detained by the government without trial during Operation Lalang, under the accusation of being a national security threat. It is widely believed they were arrested for protesting the expansion of the New Economic Policy (NEP).


The People’s Justice Party of Malaysia (KeADILan) is the only multi-racial, multi-ethnic political party in Malaysia calling for widespread political reform and advocating for social justice for all Malaysians. KeADILan believes good governance and accountability of public servants is the cornerstone of the Malaysian democracy and as such has been outspoken against the excesses of the current government, which is seen to be beholden to special interests and cronyism.

Borne in the upheaval of the 1998 movement known as Reformasi, the National Justice Party (NJP) headed by Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the wife of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, captured five seats in Parliament solidifying the young party’s role in national politics. In 2003 the NJP merged with the Malaysian People’s Party to form the People’s Justice Party, still headed by Dr. Wan Azizah.

A true reflection of Malaysia’s multi-ethnic population, KeADILan’s ranks are filled with Malays, Indians and Chinese dedicated to building a prosperous Malaysia wedded to the principles of freedom and democracy. KeADILan is dedicated to overcoming generations of race-based politics which have prevented Malaysia from realizing its potential as a diverse society.

This year KeADILan has experienced a surge in popularity under the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim and in light of widespread public dissatisfaction with the current Malaysian government. General elections are anticipated in 2008 and KeADILan is slated to make substantial gains at the polls.

Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party

The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party commonly known as PAS or Pas, is an Islamist political party in Malaysia and is currently headed by Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. PAS positions itself as a political party that aims to establish Malaysia as a country based on Islamic legal theory derived from the primary sources of Islam, the Quran, Sunnah as well as Hadiths, as opposed to Barisan Nasional’s Islam Hadhari, which PAS sees as based on a watered-down understanding of Islam.

The party enjoys strong support from the northern rural and conservative states such as Kelantan and Terengganu. It is also the first opposition party in independent Malaysia’s history to defeat the Barisan Nasional coalition in a Malay dominated state. PAS, together with Parti KeADILan Rakyat (known as PKR), and Democratic Action Party (known as DAP) formed part of a coalition called Pakatan Rakyat following the 2008 election. Together, Pakatan Rakyat now controls four states in Malaysia which are Kelantan, Kedah, Selangor and Penang.

Criticisms towards UMNO-led Barisan National government

PAS often opposed and criticised the Barisan Nasional coalition. However, for a brief period from 1973 to 1978, under the leadership of Asri Muda, PAS was brought into the BN fold.The Islamic opposition party often alleges that the economic and social problems of Malaysians and Malay-Muslims are the fault of the UMNO-dominated Barisan Nasional federal government in Kuala Lumpur. PAS claims that after independence, social problems such as drugs, corruption and promiscuity have increased and blames the UMNO-led government for allowing these problems to arise.

PAS is of the view that its leadership can overcome these perceived problems for the benefit of the Muslim and non-Muslim electorate alike by establishing an Islamic state.

Pakatan Rakyat

Pakatan Rakyat or PR (English: People’s Pact / People’s Alliance) is an informal Malaysian political coalition formed on April 1, 2008. The political coalition comprises a group of Malaysian political parties, namely, the People’s Justice Party (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), and Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), who collectively worked together in what was colloquially called the Barisan Rakyat (People’s Front) during the 12th Malaysian general election in 2008. In the 10th General Election, they had formed the Barisan Alternatif (Alternative Front). Each political party in People’s Alliance has its own ideology; PKR promotes its ideals that revolve around social justice and anti-corruption themes, PAS with its aim to establish Malaysia as a nation based on Islamic legal theory and DAP with its secular, multi-racial, social democratic ideals.

Pakatan Rakyat is to be collectively led and managed, by all three parties and pledges to uphold the rights and interests of all Malaysians. With the establishment of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, the state governments of Kelantan, Kedah, Penang and Selangor are known as the Pakatan Rakyat state governments.