Sabah state election, 1985
The 1985 Sabah state election was held from April 20 to April 21, 1985 in the state of Sabah
Sabah is one of 13 member states of Malaysia. It is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is the second largest state in the country after Sarawak, which it borders on its southwest. It also shares a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south...

, Malaysia. This was the fifth state election to take place. Parti Bersatu Sabah
Parti Bersatu Sabah
The Parti Bersatu Sabah is a political party in Sabah, east Malaysia. It was registered as a political party on March 5, 1985...

 won 25 out 48 seats contested, thus forming government with its president Joseph Pairin Kitingan
Joseph Pairin Kitingan
Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan , is a Malaysian politician and was the seventh Chief Minister of Sabah, a state in Malaysia. He held the post from April 1985 to March 1994. Currently, he is the Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development of Sabah and has...

 being sworn in as Chief Minister
Chief Minister
A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of a sub-national state, provinces of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, notably a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British Overseas Territory that has attained self-government...

. This election is a milestone in Sabah political history as it marked the first time that a party not part of the nation's ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) formed government. PBS took control of the state from the previous ruling government under Parti Berjaya—a partner of BN, which has been in power since 1976.


Party Seats
Seat won
Parti Bersatu Sabah
Parti Bersatu Sabah
The Parti Bersatu Sabah is a political party in Sabah, east Malaysia. It was registered as a political party on March 5, 1985...

45 25
United Sabah National Organisation (USNO) 43 16
BERJAYA was a political party based in the eastern state of Sabah in Malaysia. BERJAYA stands for Parti Bersatu Rakyat Jelata Sabah or Sabah People's United Front. The party was a result of a cooperation between Sabah's first Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens and former United Sabah National...

/Barisan Nasional
Barisan Nasional
Barisan Nasional is a major political coalition in Malaysia, formed in 1973 as the successor to the Alliance . Along with its predecessor, it has been Malaysia's federal ruling political force since independence...

48 6
Parti Bersatu Rakyat Bumiputra Sabah (BERSEPADU) 27 0
Parti Bertindak Rakyat Sabah Bersatu (BERSIH) 7 0
Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Pasok Nunukragang Bersatu (PASOK) 9 1
Democratic Action Party
Democratic Action Party
The Democratic Action Party, or DAP is a secular, multi-racial, social democratic Malaysian political party.The DAP is one of the three major opposition parties in Malaysia, along with the PKR and PAS, that are seen as electable alternatives to the Barisan Nasional coalition of parties...

3 0
Total (where applicable) N/A 48

The aftermath

Pairin, himself a former member of Party Berjaya, formed PBS barely 47 days before the elections. Opponents of PBS, namely, Harris Salleh
Harris Salleh
Yang Berhormat Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Harris bin Mohd Salleh, was the 6th Chief Minister of the state of Sabah, in Malaysia. He was also the president for Parti Berjaya. He held the Chief Minister's post from 1976 to 1985...

 of Berjaya, and Tun Mustapha of USNO were dissatisfied with the result. Tun Mustapha then sought to get sworn in as Chief Minister illegally, and this resulted in a court battle which ended in favour of Pairin.

The result of this election more notably resulted in riots which took place around Sabah between March and May 1986. The riots resulted in bombings in Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu , formerly known as Jesselton, is the capital of Sabah state in East Malaysia. It is also the capital of the West Coast Division of Sabah. The city is located on the northwest coast of Borneo facing the South China Sea. The Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park lies on one side and Mount...

, and arson in other towns. The rioters were trying to bring down Pairin from being the head of the state government.

In 1986 itself, another election was announced following defections by PBS assemblymen to USNO. PBS won again, this time with a two-thirds majority. PBS joined the Barisan Nasional coalition after this election, but later left the coalition in 1990.
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