In Malaysia, the democratic process is fundamental to the nation’s governance, allowing citizens to exercise their right to vote and elect representatives at both the federal and state levels.
However, with the upcoming elections on August 12, many of us may wonder what’s the difference between the general election and state election, as well as the need to have it in the first place.
Time for us to break this down!
General Election (PRU)
The General Election, commonly known as GE or Pilihan Raya Umum (PRU), is a nationwide electoral event held every five years after the dissolution of Parliament.
During GE, Malaysians cast their votes to elect Members of Parliament (MPs) for their respective constituencies.
These MPs have significant responsibilities, such as passing, amending, and repealing federal laws that affect the entire country.
Moreover, MPs act as a check and balance on the decisions and actions of the Federal Government, ensuring transparency and accountability in governance.
In essence, the general election sets the direction for the nation’s policies and determines the lawmakers who will represent the people on a national level.
State Election (PRN)
On the other hand, the state election (PRN) operate similarly to the general elections, except that they take place at the state level.
Held every five years after the State Legislative Assembly (Dewan Undangan Negeri/DUN) is dissolved, state election allows Malaysians to elect their State Assemblymen (ADUN) who will represent their specific state constituencies.
The role of Assemblymen is primarily responsible for enacting and managing state laws, developing state budgets, and formulating state-specific policies that directly impact the lives of citizens within their respective regions.
Unlike the general election, state election focuses on shaping the governance and administration of individual states, giving people a say in local matters that affect their daily lives.
Eligibility & candidacy
As a Malaysian citizen, you have the freedom to choose and join any political party that aligns with your political beliefs.
Moreover, you can actively participate in the electoral process by becoming a candidate in either the general or state election.
To run as a candidate, you need to meet certain criteria, which include:
- Being a Malaysian citizen
- Being at least 18 years old
- Residing in Malaysia
- Having a sound mind
- Not declared bankrupt
- Not holding any position in public service (to maintain impartiality and avoid conflict of interest)
- Not having any criminal convictions (must not have been convicted of any offences by a court)
Now that you know what are the key differences between the general and state election, be sure to cast your vote on Aug 12!