Explainer: How Malaysia’s election system works
Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri announced the dissolution of parliament on Monday (Oct 10), paving the way for the nation’s 15th general election at a date to be fixed by the Election Commission.
Here is a breakdown of how Malaysian elections work:
THE ELECTION SYSTEM
Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy, and a constitutional monarchy in which the king plays a largely ceremonial role, although he has certain discretionary powers.
Elections are held every five years unless the prime minister calls for an early poll.
The election process is based on the “first-past-the-post” system, which means the party that wins 112 seats – the number needed for a simple majority in the 222-seat lower house of parliament – will form a government.
An election must be held within 60 days of the dissolution of parliament, which means the upcoming vote should be held by Dec 9.
About 21.1 million Malaysians are eligible to vote in the upcoming election, the law minister said in December.
About 5 million will be voting for the first time, largely as a result of the government lowering the minimum voting age to 18 years from 21.
Voting is not compulsory and turnout fluctuates. In the last 2018 polls, 82.3 per cent out of nearly 15 million voters cast their ballots – one of the highest in Malaysia’s history.
A high turnout typically tends to favour the opposition, while a lower participation favours the incumbent.