BY CLARA CHOOI
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 — Barisan Nasional may have lost the popular vote in Election 2013, despite being returned to power with 133 seats from the 222-seat Parliament.
With all results in, BN polled 5.220 million votes to Pakatan Rakyat’s 5.489 million, for a deficit of 269,130 votes based on calculations by The Malaysian Insider. The Election Commission has yet to release the official results.
This was proportionally down from the 4.082 million votes the coalition polled in Election 2008, against the 3.796 million that the parties of PKR, DAP, and PAS collected then.
The last time an Umno-led coalition lost the popular vote was in 1969, then contested by BN's predecessor, the Alliance Party.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s BN survived a hard-fought polls battle in face of “Chinese tsunami” yesterday, but rival Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has vowed to fight the result following allegations of widespread fraud.
The BN chairman admitted it had not expected the wholesale abandonment by the Chinese community, which he blamed on the Pakatan Rakyat’s alleged play on racial sentiments to woo support from the country’s second largest ethnic group.
“I think they were taken in by some of the undertakings given by the opposition... and that’s why there was that swing.... and a lot of sentiments there, some of them racial in nature, that were being played up in this election, which is not very healthy for this country,” he told a 1am press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) today, shortly after a simple majority victory cemented BN’s place in Putrajaya.
“I expected it but I did not expect it to this extent. None of us expected it to this extent. But despite the extent of the swing against us, BN did not fall,” he added.
At a separate press conference, PR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the pact rejected the results of the poll, pointing to unanswered allegations on electoral fraud.
“As of now, we are not accepting the results... until the EC (Election Commission) responds and issues an official statement to the allegations of irregularities and fraud,” he told reporters.
Najib urged Malaysians and leaders in the federal opposition to accept tonight’s results “with an open heart”, and warned against any street demonstrations to protest the outcome.
He said BN will establish a mechanism to look into all the promises it made during campaigning to ensure that these will be implemented in full.
“One of the things we will do is the process of national reconciliation,” he said, noting the trend in Chinese support for the opposition.
“Overall, the decision made by the rakyat shows a certain trend in votes that worries the government because if it is not handled well, it could create tension and conflicts in our country,” he said.
BN scored poorly in the most Chinese-majority seats nationwide, indicating a massive swing in the community’s support towards the opposition.
The pact suffered significant defeats in its Johor fortress, losing in key seats like Kluang, Kulai and Gelang Patah, where DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang trounced political heavyweight Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, the state’s four-term mentri besar.
“There are a lot of factors that occurred, effects from the support of the Chinese to BN. The tsunami that I mentioned earlier, this tsunami of the Chinese community, led to large numbers supporting the opposition,” Najib said.
“We are still trying to absorb the results and the total ramifications. Give us a few days or weeks for us to hold discussions and have a kind of national reconciliation.
“We can reject the politics of extremism and racism, and work towards more moderate policies for the country,” he added.