Malaysian Electoral System Reform and the Challenges of its Implementation After the 14th General Election

  • Mohamad Fairuz Mat Ali Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Malaysia
  • Mohammad Agus Yusoff Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Malaysia
Keywords: electoral system, reform, Pakatan Harapan, Malaysia, GE-14


Prior to the 14th general election (GE-14), electoral practices in Malaysia have been often criticised as being obscure and biased since it was plagued with issues such as dubious voter registers and ballot paper fraud. Therefore, in its manifesto during GE-14, Pakatan Harapan (PH) promised to reform this electoral practice to make it more independent, transparent, and fair. PH then won the GE-14 on the strength of this vow, forcing it to keep its manifesto pledge. However, implementing the said promise is not easy as most of the proposals involve amendments to the Federal Constitution that require the support of at least a two-thirds majority. The fact that PH lacks such a majority has raised the issue of whether or not the objective to reform the electoral system can be materialised. Thus, this article examines the aspects of electoral reform implemented by PH during its 22 months in power and assesses the challenges faced in implementing such electoral system reform. The concept of electoral reform was used as an analytical tool in this article. This article mainly obtained its data from secondary sources including books, journals, theses, official government documents and websites, while primary data were collected from unstructured interviews with authoritative informants. Findings revealed that among the important reforms of the country's electoral system that have been accomplished by PH are improving the standard operating procedures of elections, enhancing election rules that do not require amendments, amending laws that require simple majority support in the parliament, and implementing ‘high-impact’ electoral reforms that require amendments to the Federal Constitution. Moreover, it was also discovered that the main challenge to reforming the electoral system was the constraint of electoral rule amendments that require the approval of a two-thirds majority of parliamentarians. Other obstacles included politicians' unwillingness to accept a new electoral system culture, barriers to accessing data and information owned by other agencies, discrepancies between federal and state legislation, and financial constraints on improving existing hardware and systems necessary for electoral reform success.


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How to Cite
Mat Ali, M. F. and Yusoff, M. A. (2022) “Malaysian Electoral System Reform and the Challenges of its Implementation After the 14th General Election”, Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH), 7(1), pp. 299 - 312. doi: 10.47405/mjssh.v7i1.1258.