Under the Banner of Democracy: Political Expression in Malaysia’s 13th General Election

  • Mustafa K. Anuar


Malaysia’s 13th general election, which was held in 2013, was billed as “the mother of all elections” because it was a do-or-die battle for the contestants in the wake of the last elections in 2008 where the “political tsunami” occurred with the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance gaining much electoral strength beyond their wildest dream. Unsurprisingly, the incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN) electoral campaigning in 2013 went on a high gear. BN political advertisements prevailed in the mainstream media. Similarly, the roads and highways were filled with political posters, banners and billboards, majority of which were placed by the BN coalition. The reinvigorated PR also made its presence felt as reflected in the increased numbers of electoral campaign materials especially in PR-controlled states. This study found that, among other things, socio-economic development as a theme was aggressively promoted in the electoral campaigns. Another finding is that memories of significant past were invoked by the BN to strike a chord with the voters. These posters, banners and billboards are important to the democratic and electoral process, but are however no substitute to the mainstream media and political rallies, which are restricted, in a country like Malaysia. They only serve to partly help widen democratic space as well as add colour and vibrancy to general elections.


Electoral Campaign Mainstream Medium Popular Vote Incumbent Party Political Advertising 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nusantara Studies, Penang Institute, Lengkok KenariBayan LepasMalaysia

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