The Star Online|Malaysia 13th General Election

Know Your Parties


Umno is the largest political party in malaysia. A founding member of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, Umno is currently helmed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and holds 78 parliamentary seats. It also has 250 state seats.


Led by Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, the Malaysian Chinese Association aims to safeguard the country’s independence as well as the rights and interests of Malaysian Chinese. The party also seeks to promote goodwill among Malaysians and ensure the peaceful progress and growth of a strong and united nation. MCA strives for equality between the races and social justice, and has displayed its commitment to these objectives by way of various foundations, scholarships, and loan schemes.


The Malaysian Indian Congress is the third largest component party of Barisan Nasional and represents the Indian community. It won four parliamentary seats and seven state seats in GE12 in 2008. Led by Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, MIC is committed to positive racial harmony, cooperation, and ensuring that the Indian community obtains 3% equity by the year 2020.


Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia was founded in 1968. Originally an opposition party, it joined Barisan Nasional in 1973 where it pursued a non-ethnic approach in areas such as the economy and education. Led by Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Gerakan currently has two parliamentary seats and eight state seats, as well as a membership of 300,000.


The People’s Progressive Party led by Datuk M. Kayveas was originally an opposition party before joining the forerunner to Barisan, the Alliance Party in 1953. However, it withdrew a while later to become an opposition party once more before finally joining Barisan Nasional in 1973.


Founded in 1973, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu is Sarawak’s largest political party. Led by Sarawak chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, the party was formed to improve the lives and protect the rights of the Bumiputra.


The Sarawak United People’s Party was established in 1959 and currently led by Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui. SUPP has five parliamentary and six state seats.


Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah is led by Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, and was founded by former members of Parti Bersatu Sabah. It was accepted as part of the Barisan coalition in 1994. The party currently has one parliamentary and one state seat.


Parti Bersatu Sabah is a relatively new party, being formed in 1985 by Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan after he was forced out of the ruling Berjaya party. PBS joined Barisan in 1986, only to pull out of the coalition in 1990 before rejoining in 2002.


The United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation started as Parti Demokrat Sabah in 1994, but was later renamed. The party’s president is Tan Sri Bernard Dompok. Upko currently holds four parliamentary and six state seats.


The Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party is a Sarawak-based party formed relatively recently - in 2002 - when the Sarawak National Party was deregistered. The party is led by Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom and has four parliamentary and six state seats.


Founded in 2004, Parti Rakyat Sarawak came about after Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) was deregistered by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) in 2003. PRS was formed by members of PBDS, including Tan Sri Dr James Masing, and was later accepted into Barisan. It currently holds six parliamentary and eight state seats.


The Democratic Action Party is a multi-race party that was originally the Malaysian branch of the Singapore People’s Action Party. In 1966, it registered itself as a Malaysian democratic socialist party. The party’s chairman is Karpal Singh, one of its 29 parliamentary representatives. The party also has 83 state seats and seeks to champion democratic governance and equal opportunity for all.


The party is helmed by Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the wife of former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, After Anwar was sacked from his position in the Government and Barisan and jailed on charges of corruption and sexual misconduct, his wife took over a small party named Ikatan Masyarakat Islam Malaysia and relaunched it under the PKR banner in 1999. In 2004, Anwar was released from prison and led the party in GE12 in 2008. PKR currently has 24 parliamentary and 38 state seats.


Parti Islam Se-Malaysia was officially founded in 1951. It espouses a strong Islamist standpoint on issues and moral questions. The party currently, which is led by Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, has 23 parliamentary and 83 state seats. It also leads the state governments in Kedah and Kelantan


Parti Rakyat Malaysia, which was established in 1955, is another democratic socialist party.


Parti Sosialis Malaysia was founded in 1998. Although its sole representative in Parliament - Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael D. Jeyakumar - contested in GE12 on a PKR ticket, PSM remains outside the coalition proper. Besides the parliamentary seat, PSM has a state seat which is held by its chairman Dr Nasir Hashim.


The Sabah Progressive Party is an independent party helmed by former PBS member Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee. Although it was originally a Barisan component party, it has since pulled out. It currently has two state seats and two parliamentary seats.


Few parties have as dramatic a history as the Sarawak National Party. Founded in 1961, it was a member of Barisan until 2004 when it was expelled. In the 2008 general election, it contested as an opposition party and officially joined Pakatan Rakyat in 2010. However, one year later, the party withdrew from Pakatan over seat allocation disagreements.


The Malaysian Democratic Party was formed in 1998 by Wee Choo Keong following his expulsion from DAP. Wee contested in 2008 under a PKR ticket, and won the Wangsa Maju parliamentary seat.


Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) was founded in 2009. The party first contested in the Sarawak elections last year but lost in all the seats it stood in.


The Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party  was an offshoot of the banned Hindraf movement, with Hindraf national coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran stepping up as founding president.


Parti Kesejahteraan Insan Tanahair was formerly a Kedah-based party by the name of Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (AKIM). In 2010, former Umno and PKR member Datuk Seri Zaid Ibrahim took over its leadership.


The Malaysian Ceylonese Congress was formed in 1958, and has always thrown its support behind BN. It was formed to promote and protect the overall welfare of Malaysians of Sri Lankan descent.


Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia was created in 1977 by the then-Kelantan Mentri Besar, Mohamad Nasir, as an alternative to PAS. After joining the now-defunct Parti Melayu Semangat 46 and then having the alliance dissolved when Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah rejoined Umno, Berjasa ceased participating in most of the political arena.


An associate member of Umno, the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress was formed in 1976 to represent the Indian Muslim community in Malaysia.


The Malaysian Workers Party is a leftist party that unsuccessfully contested in the 5th General Election.


The Punjabi Party of Malaysia was formed in 1986 to protect the interests of the Punjabi community in the country.


The All Malaysian Indian Progressive Front is an MIC splinter party which supports but is not part of Barisan.


The Malaysian Indian United Party was registered in 2007 after Datuk K.S. Nallakaruppan left PKR. It seeks to champion the rights of Malaysian Indians.


The Human Rights Party Malaysia is a professedly multiracial party which fights against racial discrimination. The main thrust of the party is to aid Malaysian Indians as well as groups suffering from human rights violations.


The United Sarawak People’s Economic Party was a group of independent candidates who contested in the 2011 Sarawak elections but lost all the seats the stood in. The Registrar of Societies has yet to approve its application to be registered.