Malaysia’s 14th General Election: dissecting the ‘Malaysian tsunami’—measuring the impacts of ethnicity and urban development on electoral outcomes

Jason Wei Jian Ng, Gary J. Rangel, Yet Chin Phung

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The 14th Malaysian general elections (GE14) resulted in a regime change not experienced since independence. While ethnicity has been an overriding factor in determining electoral outcomes, urbanization has recently been considered a competing factor that might weaken the effects of ethnicity. Using a new methodology to model the compositional effects of ethnicity, we analyse the effects of both factors on the GE14 in our regression models. The findings show that both ethnicity and urban development do affect electoral outcomes, with ethnicity being the more dominant factor. Additionally, multivariate results show that neither malapportionment nor redelineation explains electoral outcomes. We provide a dissection of the ‘Malaysian tsunami’ examining vote change patterns between GE13 and GE14 using an ethnic and rural-urban continuum. The analysis reveals that effects of the tsunami are not evenly spread across ethnic groups and geographical regions, with the Malay majority and ethnically mixed seats displaying contrasting voting patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-66
Number of pages25
JournalAsian Journal of Political Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • 14th General Elections
  • electoral outcomes
  • ethnicity
  • longitudinal analysis
  • Malaysia
  • urbanization

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