It was a humiliating outcome for the National Front coalition, which has governed Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957, and raised questions about the political future of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
At the federal level, the coalition failed to win a two-thirds majority in the 222-seat Parliament for the first time since 1969. Instead it had to be satisfied with a simple majority, winning 139 of the 220 seats for which results had been announced by the Election Commission.
Even if it wins the remaining two seats it would fall short of the 148 needed for a two-thirds majority.
It was a stunning reversal of fortunes for Abdullah, who had led the Front to its best ever result in the last elections in 2004, winning 91 percent of the parliamentary seats and 12 of Malaysia's 13 states.
"As of now we have obtained a simple majority," said Abdullah, looking grim as he addressed reporters with his wife, Jeanne, and deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak by his side.
He said he would meet the constitutional monarch Sunday to stake claim on a new government, and dismissed suggestions that he would face pressure from party members to step down.
"I don't know who would pressure me. There is nothing at this time," he said.
Simultaneous elections also were being held for local assemblies in 12 Malaysian states. The 13th state of Sarawak recently held elections. The National Front controls all states except Kelantan, ruled by the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS.
Reforms not delivered
A key issue in the elections was the disillusionment among ethnic Chinese and Indians, who have complained about religious discrimination and a 37-year-old affirmative action program giving the majority Muslim Malays preference in government jobs, business and education.
"The disenchantment within non-Malays this time ... is a real change from patterns from the past. It is a threat" to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said Bridget Welsh, a Southeast Asia expert at Johns Hopkins University who was in Malaysia to monitor the polls.
A Muslim scholar, Abdullah rode to popularity in 2004 promising to root out corruption, fight crime, bring down prices and create a racially peaceful society.
"Many of those reforms have not been delivered. That has made him vulnerable. He said 'I will bring change' and he hasn't brought change," said Welsh.
In a last-minute appeal to voters late Friday, the 68-year-old Abdullah said on TV, "You have to vote for our future. ... What will happen if there is chaos and there is instability?"
Malays make up 60 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people, and form the bulk of voters for Abdullah's United Malays National Organization. The party dominates the governing coalition, which also includes Chinese and Indian-based parties in a power-sharing arrangement that has largely ensured racial peace in this multiethnic country.
Opposition parties take aim
But recent ethnic tensions spilled into the streets last November, when tens of thousands of people held a rare anti-government protest in Kuala Lumpur. The protests were the most serious since the deadly 1969 Malay-Chinese riots, which followed elections in which the Front failed to get a two-thirds majority.
Opposition parties — the Islamic PAS, the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party and former Deputy Prime Minister's Anwar Ibrahim People's Justice Party — say their aim this time is to deny the Front a two-thirds majority.
The opposition's chances do not seem good. It admits it is hampered by an electoral system that favors the National Front: the government gerrymanders constituencies to ensure its supporters dominate a district; the media are government controlled and give very little space to the opposition, which has turned to the Internet.
Anwar and other opposition leaders also have questioned voter registration lists, saying they were prone to manipulation because they allegedly contained dead people or individual addresses with hundreds of voters.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said earlier the uneven playing field makes a fair vote doubtful. Foreign elections observers are not allowed.
Law Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz denied the allegations, saying the opposition parties' active participation shows the elections are free and fair. The Election Commission also has denied irregularities.
Finally, Abdullah Ahmad Bidawi have to wake up from his day sleep as he announced the simple majority for BN last night. The glorious of the UMNO has been tested for the first time when the rakyat gave 5 state for opposition and denied the 2/3 majority. The urban areas are now belong to the oppositions where BN has failed to predict the heart of the sophisticated voters.As for Sarawak and Sabah, this is a time to think and to analyze the future of the state as the new coalition government will be form tomorrow. Will Sarawak BN leaders remain in the state portfolio as ever since or upgraded to cabinet ministers as Sarawak has give full mandate to Barisan Nasional to rule the state? Or just an assistant ministers? The answer is yet to know once Abdullah Ahmad Badawi forms the government tomorrow.
If DAP, PKR, PAS as the most victorious party are formed to be the majority in the parliament, is there any hope for Sarawak BN component parties to remain as the coalition or will be the opposition. I will be glad if PBB abd SUPP or SPDP going to be oppositions and the era of SNAP will be restarted again.
It is demanded that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi shall step down as the Prime Minister due to his lacking in leadership and ministry. The pressure may be form his own UMNO members or the opposition as it is necessary to regain the national stability and freedom. What will happened next is yet to predicted.
For Bidayuh, it is now the great time to think again if Barisan Nasional is still relevant for our agenda. The great downfall of BN is the opportunity to grab the government attention on our right and claims as the part of the state. BN is now become weaker as the peoples have rejected BN as the supreme ruler since the independent of Malaysia.
The future is now up to us to decide weather to put our hope to SUPP (Chinese), SPDP (Iban) or PBB (Malay & Melanau). We are not against the government policies if we withdraw form the BN but I think it is a good idea for we are remaining of what we are since many years living under the BN leaking umbrella.
We must think now or we will regret later. The defeat of BN may bring to another phase of renewal of race and culture by the UMNO. It is now begins with Kampung Tun Abdul Razak. Wake up and open your eyes to see what is going on and predict what will happened next. I do not know if all the corridors going to be implemented and if it is then it is good for us but if it is not we must think how to unite ourself and to be heard in the Parliament.
The grants of Chinese independent school has been given by the state government and we will receive a mega structure dam project in Bengoh but the bargaining seems to be hard to receive. If it is real than it is our leaders fault for failing us again and again. It is good to build such dam but it is not good to give such name for Bidayuh. Therefore, it is right to fall back form SPDP, PBB and SUPP if these party unable to protect us form the danger.
Manyin assured us that there shall be no change to bidayuh culture. Yes he is right but he cannot predict the future as he is just a teacher where his learning methodology was based on books and not by critical thought. He knows that Razak was the Bapa Perpaduan but perpaduan among the Chinese and Malay after the 13 May tragedy. He is not qualified to give a concrete prediction on bidayuh future and now BN defeated badly.
As for Dawos as the Mambong MP, the Oxford certificate is not the measurement to portray his own stand towards bidayuh matters. As same as Khairy too. The oxford scholar with arrogant but yet hiding behind the Prime Minister. If he cannot meet the standard of demands by the bidayuh under his administration than, the next state election may not at his side if he is careless. If he allow Kampung Tun Razak to be named than that will be a great test for him to ask for support next.
May this downfall be a lesson to and as a reference for us to think more about our future under the Narisan Nasional. Five years is yet to come but the fate of bidayuh must be prioritize for more modern bidayuh.