Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The impetus for the BA's formation was the September 20, 1999 arrest and subsequent conviction of former UMNO deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who had been fired from his government posts and subsequently became the leader of the Reformasi movement against UMNO. On October 24, 1999, the four largest opposition parties -- the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS), the Democratic Action Party (DAP), the National Justice Party (Keadilan) and the Malaysian People's Party -- announced an electoral alliance and issued a joint manifesto.
In the 1999 general elections, the BA cooperated to contest only one candidate in each constituency. The big winner was PAS, which captured the states of Kelantan and Terengganu and increased its parliamentary seats from 7 to 27. DAP increased its share from 7 to 10 and with two of its most prominent leaders, Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh losing their constituencies, a disappointing performance blamed mostly on its largely Chinese electorate's distrust of the alliance with PAS, and newly formed Keadilan, crippled by the detention of many of its leaders, took only 5 seats. The Barisan Nasional retained a 77% absolute majority with 148 of 193 seats.
From the very beginning, the alliance had been strained by PAS's unwillingness to publicly renounce its aim of making Malaysia an Islamic state , a position that was anathema to Malaysia's 45% non-Muslim minority, although a temporary compromise was achieved when PAS did not include the issue in the joint manifesto.
However, the strain increased after PAS's election victory and the minority parties' realization that they were losing votes to the fear of an Islamic state. Shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the DAP announced its withdrawal from the Barisan Alternatif on September 21, 2001.
2004 General election
The split has led to infighting between the opposition parties in the 2004 general election. As they could not agree in the allocation of seats in each state, many seats had multiple contestants. Ties between Keadilan and PAS were also strained, as was evident in PAS' refusal to support Parti Rakyat Malaysia's bid in the Kota Bharu parliamentary seat.
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