political entity

List of political parties in Malaysia

Political parties in Malaysia lists political parties in Malaysia. While enjoying regular elections and political stability, institutional systems and infrastructure generally provide for a dominant party state in what has been described by observers as being a paradox of semi-authoritarian rule in a participatory political system that has brought about the development of a syncretic state.

Brief history and overview

Early developments

Early organised political movements in Malaysia were organised along regional and ethnic groups and were not political parties in the modern sense. They generally were loose alliances of interest groups and individuals primarily concerned with social welfare, social progress and religious reform among the Muslim Malay communities similar to interest groups and civil society organizations of today.

Religious reformers

Religious reformers played a large role in developing and disseminating ideas with magazines and periodicals like al-Imam' published in Singapore by Tahir Jalaluddin between 1906 to 1908, and al-Munir published in Penang by Abdullah Ahmad between 1911 to 1916. These in turn were primarily influenced by the Egyptian Islamic reform magazine, al-Manar published in Cairo by Rashid Rida from 1898 to 1936 . While these publications were primarily concerned with the Islamic religion, it also touched extensively on the social, political and economic conditions of the Malays .

One of the first such movements was the New Hope Society (Persekutuan Pengharapan Belia) that was established in Johor Bahru in 1916. On September 14 1923, a movement was established in Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt by students from British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies known as the Al-Jam'iyah Al-Khairiyah lit-tholabah Al-Azhariyah Al-Jawiyah (renamed in 1937 to the Indonesia Malaya Convention or Perhimpunan Indonesia Malaya; PERPINDOM) . Primarily comprising of students influenced by the Young Turks movement and later the Muslim Brotherhood, intentional political and religious discourse was encouraged through periodicals like Osman Abdullah's Seruan Al-Azhar (Al-Azhar Clarion) and Pilehan Timur (Oriental Choice) .

Teacher's unions

The Sultan Idris Training College for Malay teachers in Tanjung Malim was fertile ground for the exchange of ideas. The establishment of the Selangor Malay Teachers Association (Persatuan Guru-guru Melayu Selangor) in 1921 by Muhammad Yusof paved the way for similar organizations to be set up in the other Federated Malay States and a magazine known as Majalah Guru (Teacher's Magazine) was published in 1923. This magazine allowed for the discussion of larger socio-economic issues as well political issues, establishing itself as one of the influences in the development of Malay nationalism .

Self help societies

Various self-help societies like the Maharani Company in Muar, Johor and the Serikat Pembaikan Hidup (Life Improvement Society) organised by Mohamad Eunos Abdullah of the Singapore Malay Union (Kesatuan Melayu Singapura) established co-operatives and communes to help improve the socio-economic conditions of the Malay peasants and smallholders. They too utilized newspapers and periodicals like the Maharani Company published Perjumpaan Melayu (Malay Convergence) to disseminate ideas and encourage discourse on issues pertaining to the social, political and economic conditions of the Malay people .

Early political organizations

Singapore Malay Union

The Singapore Malay Union (Kesatuan Melayu Singapura; KMS) was established in 1924 by Mohamad Eunos Abdullah, Tengku Kadir Ali and Embok Suloh with the aim of increasing the role of Malays in public life, upholding Malay interests with the colonial authorities, and promote higher and technical education for Malays . Eunos himself was a Justice of Peace, a member of the Muslim Advisory Board set up by the colonial administration during World War I and a member of the Singapore Municipal Council. In his capacity as the chairman of the KMS, he became the first Malay member of the Legislative Council of the Straits Settlements. One of the first issues championed by the KMS was the appeal for land to be set aside for a Malay settlement. The appeal was granted and a sum of $ 700,000 was set aside for the KMS to purchase and develop the land. This settlement has evolved and is now part of the Eunos neighbourhood in Singapore .

The KMS also became the catalyst for the establishment of similar organizations in the other states of the British Malaya such as the Penang Malay Association (founded in 1927) and the Perak Malay Association (founded in 1937) . People associated with the KMS included the first President of Singapore, Yusof Ishak. The KMS survived World War II and entered into a political coalition with the United Malays National Organisation and the Malayan Chinese Association to form the Singapore Alliance Party. It however eventually faded away with the electoral defeats of the Alliance in the 1955 legislative elections in Singapore .

Communist Party of Malaya

The first political party to be organized with a pan-Malayan outlook was the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) established in 1930. The CPM was originally set up as a branch of the Comintern supervised by the Far Eastern Bureau of the Communist Party of China in 1926. It was then known as the South Seas Communist Party. The fraternal Communist Party of Indonesia (established in 1924) was by then underground or in exile due to their abortive revolt in 1926. This resulted in the CPM being almost exclusively dominated by people of Chinese descent. Efforts to establish a broader based representation were made especially in the 1935 representative conferences between the CPM and the General Labour Union as well as the establishment of contact with Communist cells in Siam and the Dutch East Indies in 1936. Nonetheless, the CPM remained an organization that was predominantly Chinese in composition until the Japanese occupation of Malaya which saw a larger participation of people from other ethnicties .

Young Malay Union

The Young Malay Union (Kesatuan Melayu Muda; KMM) was established in Kuala Lumpur in 1938 under the leadership of Ibrahim Yaacob. While registered as a social organization working to improve Malay youths in sports, education, agriculture, health and other recreational pursuits, the primary aim of the KMM was to struggle for the political independence of all the Malayan states from Britain and oppose British imperialism. While gaining significant support from the larger Malay community, the KMM failed to gain support from the Malay aristocrats and bureaucracy and on the eve of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, more than 100 KMM members were arrested by the authorities for collaboration.

All were released after the fall of Singapore in February 1942. On January 14 1942, a KMM delegation led by vice-president, Mustapha Hussain, met with the Japanese authorities to negotiate for the independence of Malaya. The Japanese authorities instead disbanded KMM and established the Pembela Tanah Ayer (also known as the Malai Giyu Gun or by its Malay acronym PETA) militia in its stead. Most who joined PETA were also part of the underground KMM Youth League who continued to struggle for an independent Malaya and some cooperated with the CPM sponsored Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army and other anti-Japanese guerilla units like Force 136 and Wataniah.

With the surrender of Japan in August 1945, former KMM cadres formed the nucleus of the emerging political movements like the Malay Nationalist Party, Angkatan Pemuda Insaf, and Angkatan Wanita Sedar ..

The parties

Federal parties

Coalitions and parties that have a nationwide presence and participates in elections in more than one state.

Major parties

For the purposes of this list, major parties denote coalitions and parties that have representation in the Parliament of Malaysia or the Dewan Undangan Negeri, or have participated in elections within the last 10 years.

Name in English Name in Malay Acronym Founded URL
National Front
   United Malays National Organisation *
   Malaysian Chinese Association
   Malaysian Indian Congress
   Malaysian People's Movement Party
   People's Progressive Party
   United Traditional Bumiputera Party
   Sarawak United People's Party
   Sabah Progressive Party
   Sabah United Party **
   Liberal Democratic Party
   United Sabah People's Party
   United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation
   Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party
   Sarawak People's Party
Barisan Nasional
   Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu
   Persatuan Cina Malaysia
   Kongres India Malaysia
   Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia
   Parti Progresif Penduduk Malaysia
   Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu
   Parti Rakyat Bersatu Sarawak
   Parti Maju Sabah
   Parti Bersatu Sabah
   Parti Liberal Demokratik
   Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah
   Pertubuhan Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Bersatu
   Parti Demokratik Progresif Sarawak
   Parti Rakyat Sarawak



People's Pact
   People's Justice Party
   Democratic Action Party
   Islamic Party of Malaysia ***
Pakatan Rakyat
   Parti KeADILan Rakyat
   Parti Tindakan Demokratik
   Parti Islam Se-Malaysia

Malaysian People's Party Parti Rakyat Malaysia PRM 1955
Socialist Party of Malaysia Parti Sosialis Malaysia PSM 1998
Malaysian Democratic Party Parti Demokratik Malaysia MDP 1998  
* UMNO was deregistered in 1988 and the Prime Minister of Malaysia formed a new party known as United Malays National Organisation (Baru) on February 16, 1988. The term "Baru" or "New" was removed by a constitutional amendment on July of the same year.
** The United Sabah Party (Parti Bersatu Sabah) was a member of Barisan Nasional from its establishment until its withdrawal from the coalition in 1990. The party rejoined the coalition in 2002 .
*** The Malaysian Islamic Party entered into a coalition with the former Alliance Party in 1972 and subsequently joined the Barisan Nasional coalition when it was founded in 1974. It withdrew from the coalition in 1977 .

Minor Parties

Name in English Name in Malay Acronym Founded URL
All Malaysian Indian Progressive Front Barisan Kemajuan India Se-Malaysia AMIPF 1990  
Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress Kongres India Muslim Malaysia KIMMA 1977  
Malaysian Workers' Party Parti Pekerja-Pekerja Malaysia PPM 1978  
Pan Malaysian Islamic Front Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia BERJASA 1977  
Punjabi Party of Malaysia Parti Punjabi Malaysia PPM 1986  
* The Punjabi Party of Malaysia was established in 1986 but only registered with the Elections Commission in 2003 .

Regional Parties

Coalitions and parties that have a nationwide presence and participates in elections in only one state.

Name in English Name in Malay Acronym Founded URL
Community Coalition Congress Kongres Penyatuan Masyarakat CCC 1988  
Federated Sabah People's Front Barisan Rakyat Sabah Bersekutu BERSEKUTU  
Malaysian People's Justice Front Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia AKIM  
United Democratic Sabah People's Power Party Parti Demokratik Setiahati Kuasa Rakyat Bersatu Sabah SETIA  
United Pasok Nunukragang National Organisation Persatuan Kebangsaan Pasok Nunukragang Bersatu PASOK 1978
Sarawak National Party * Parti Kebangsaan Sarawak SNAP 1961
State Reform Party Parti Reformasi Negeri STAR 1996
Malaysian Dayak Congress ** Kongres Dayak Malaysia MDC  
* The Sarawak National Party joined the Barisan Nasional coalition in 1976 but was expelled from the coalition in 2004 .
** The Malaysian Dayak Congress was organised in 2005 but has failed to obtain registration as a society to date. Candidates of the MDC have participated in elections as Independents or on other party's tickets .

Historic or defunct parties

This list is sorted by the year in which the respective parties were established.

Name in English Name in Malay Acronym Founded Dissolved
Communist Party of Malaya * Parti Komunis Malaya CPM 1930 1989
Malay Nationalist Party Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya PKMM 1945 1950
Malayan Democratic Union MDU 1945 1948
United Malays National Organisation Persatuan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu UMNO 1946 1988
Hizbul Muslimin Hizbul Muslimin 1948 1948
Alliance Party ** Parti Perikatan 1951 1974
Radical Party (Malaya) 1951 1952
Independence of Malaya Party Parti Kemerdekaan Malaya IMP 1951 1954
National Association of Perak Parti Kebangsaan Perak NAP 1953 1957
National Party Parti Negara 1953 1962
Labour Party of Malaya Parti Buruh Malaya LPM 1954 1969
Malayan Socialist Youth League 1956 1958
Malayan Party Parti Malaya 1956 1964
Malayan Ceylonese Congress *** 1958
National Party of Sarawak Parti Negara Sarawak PANAS 1960 1968
United National Kadazan Organisation Parti Kebangsaan Kadazan Bersatu UNKO 1961 1964
United Sabah National Organisation Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Sabah Bersatu USNO 1961 1991
Sarawak Native People's Front Barisan Rakyat Jati Sarawak BARJASA 1961 1968
United Pasok Momogun Organisation Pertubuhan Bersatu Pasok Momogun 1962 1964
Sarawak Chinese Association Persatuan Cina Sarawak SCA 1962
Sarawak Native's Heritage Party Parti Pesaka Anak Sarawak PESAKA 1962 1973
Sabah Chinese Association Persatuan Cina Sabah SCA 1962 1979
United Democratic Party Parti Demokratik Bersatu UDP 1962 1967
National Convention Party Parti Perhimpunan Kebangsaan PPK 1963 1965
United Pasok-Momogun Kadazan Organisation Pertubuhan Bersatu Pasok-Momogun Kadazan UPKO 1964 1967
Sabah Indian Congress Kongres India Sabah SIC 1964
Bumiputera Party Parti Bumiputera 1967 1973
Marhaen Party Parti Marhaen 1968 1974
Communist Party of Malaya (Revolutionary Faction) * Parti Komunis Malaya (Puak Revolusioner) CPM-RF 1970
Social Justice Party (Malaysia) Parti Keadilan Masyarakat Malaysia PEKEMAS 1971 1979
North Kalimantan Communist Party **** Parti Komunis Kalimantan Utara NKCP 1971 1990
Communist Party of Malaya (Marxist-Leninist) * Parti Komunis Malaya (Marxis-Leninis) CPM-ML 1974
Independent People's Progressive Party 1974
Homeland Consciousness Union Kesatuan Insaf Tanah Air KITA 1974
Sarawak People's National Party Parti Negara Rakyat Sarawak 1974
Sabah United People's Party Parti Bersatu Rakyat Jelata Sabah BERJAYA 1975
Social Democratic Party Parti Sosial Demokratik SDP 1978
Sarawak Native's Party Parti Anak Jati Sarawak PAJAR 1978 1978
Sarawak United Democratic Party Parti Sarawak Demokratik Bersatu BERSATU 1978
Muslim People's Party of Malaysia Parti Hizbul Muslimin Malaysia HAMIM 1983
Sarawak Native People's Party Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak PBDS 1983 2004
Sarawak United Labour Party Parti Buruh Bersatu Sarawak 1983
Sarawak United Bumiputera People's Party Parti Bersatu Rakyat Bumiputera Sabah BERSEPADU 1984
Nationalist Party of Malaysia Parti Nasionalis Malaysia NASMA 1985
Democratic Malaysian Indian Party Parti Demokratik India Malaysia DMIP 1985
Sabah Chinese Party Parti Cina Sabah SCP 1986
Malaysian Solidarity Party Parti Solidariti Malaysia MSP 1986
Sarawak Malaysian People's Association Persatuan Rakyat Malaysia Sarawak PERMAS 1987 1991
Spirit of 46 Malay Party Parti Melayu Semangat 46 S46 1989 1996
Sabah People's Party Parti Rakyat Sabah 1989 1991
People's Justice Front Angkatan Keadilan Rakyat AKAR 1989 2001
United Action Party Parti Tindakan Bersatu 1990
Muslim Community Union of Malaysia ***** Ikatan Masyarakat Islam Malaysia IKATAN 1991 1999
* The Communist Party of Malaya operated legally from 1945-1948. After it was banned, the party went underground to conduct an armed rebellion. In 1970, the former 8th Regiment of the Malayan National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the CPM, broke away to form the Maoist CPM (Revolutionary Faction). In 1974, a third split occurred among cadres who wanted the CPM to end its ideological opposition to the larger Malaysian federation and formed the CPM (Marxist Leninist) .
** The Alliance Party was expanded to include other component parties beyond the original 3, UMNO, MCA and MIC, and renamed the National Front (- *** The Malayan Ceylonese Congress never participated in any election and later evolved into a civic organization as the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress.
**** The North Kalimantan Communist Party never operated as a legal political entity.
***** The constitution of the party was amended to change the name of the party to the National Justice Party ({{lang-ms|Parti Keadilan Nasional). This entity subsequently was renamed the People's Justice Party.

See also


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