Semangat 46
Parti Melayu Semangat 46 or Spirit of 46 Malay Party (S46) is a now defunct Malaysian political party. The party was formed in 1988 under the leadership of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh bin Tengku Mohd Hamzah is a major Malaysian political figure from the state of Kelantan, and a former Finance Minister. He is an uncle of the current Raja Perempuan of Kelantan. Tengku is a Malay hereditary title usually translated as prince...

, who felt capable of mounting a realistic challenge to the dominance of then UMNO under Mahathir's leadership and its electoral vehicle, the 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...

. Razaleigh's confidence was also partly attributed to the personal support which he was endorsed from former prime ministers Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, AC, CH was Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya from 1955, and the country's first Prime Minister from independence in 1957. He remained as the Prime Minister after Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore joined the...

 and Hussein Onn
Hussein Onn
Tun Hussein bin Dato' Onn who is of 3/4 Malay and 1/4 Circassian ancestry was the third Prime Minister of Malaysia, ruling from 1976 to 1981. He was granted the soubriquet Bapa Perpaduan...

, both of whom had also fallen apart with Mahathir.

The idea of Semangat 46 first came about in 1985 or 1986 when Malaysia was experiencing an economic recession. Following Razaleigh's expulsion in 1987, Razaleigh headed to form a political party the following year. This new party brought over many UMNO top leaders who were supportive of Razaleigh, aptly known as "Team B". Other UMNO leaders who were supportive of Mahathir made up "Team A"–divisions which were immediately drawn after the presidential elections in January 1987. By February 1988, such distinctions were clearly cut as Razaleigh decided to name his faction "UMNO 46" to reflect the spirit which the party was founded in 1946, while Mahathir decided to name his faction "UMNO (Baru)", tagging along much of the parties' administrative documents. However, since "UMNO 46" was denied registration on the basis of a duplicate name, Razaleigh decided to settle on the name "Semangat 46". On June 3, 1989, Semangat 46 was officially registered with the electoral college.

In 1990, the party forged a double coalition with other opposition parties to contest in the 1990 Malaysian general election
Malaysian general election, 1990
General elections were held in Malaysia on 21 October 1990. The result was a victory for the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional, which won 127 of the 180 seats...

; with the multi-racial parties it forged one coalition, Gagasan Rakyat with the 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...

 and Parti Rakyat Malaysia
Parti Rakyat Malaysia
The Parti Rakyat Malaysia is a democratic socialist political party in Malaysia. Established on November 11, 1955 as Partai Ra'ayat, it is one of the older political parties in Malaysia and traces its pedigree to the anti-colonial movements from the pre World War II period like the Kesatuan Melayu...

. With the Muslim parties it forged another alliance, Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah with PAS, BERJASA, HAMIM and the newly formed Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress
Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress
Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress is a political party formed in 1977 to represent the interests of the Indian Muslim community in Malaysia.-Hierarchy:* Chairman & President - Dato`Syed Ibrahim Bin Kader DPNS,DNS,AMN,JP...

. It was with the latter Muslim alliance Angkatan won all 39 state seats in Kelantan to form the state government, with 24 going to PAS and 15 for Semangat 46.

However, support for the party gradually eroded as many of Semangat 46 members began to defect to UMNO particularly from 1991 to 1992, among which this included the party's youth chief Ibrahim Ali. Others, while remaining as members of the party chose to withdraw from active participation of politics. The party was renamed as Parti Melayu Semangat 46 in February 1994, when Semangat 46 decided to challenge UMNO on Malay communal issues, and at the same time sacrificing its multi-ethnic stance.

In the mid 1990s, Semangat 46 experienced a deteriorating relationship with DAP and eventually leading to the breakup of the Gagasan Rakyat coalition shortly before the 1995 Malaysian general election
Malaysian general election, 1995
General elections were held in Malaysia on 25 April 1995. The result was a victory for the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional, which won 162 of the 192 seats. Voter turnout was 68.3%.-Results:...

. The party, at the same time was also experiencing increasingly strained ties with PAS over the share of control of the state of Kelantan, although they still managed to retain control of Kelantan and were still able to work together in the election. By this time, the party's credibility was also severely compromised by its occasional victories which it has won in its elections coupled with the loss of many key figures. The deputy president, Rais Yatim
Rais Yatim
Dato' Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim is the current Malaysian Information, Communications, and Culture Minister. His ministry is considered a new ministry formed from the merger of three separate ministries in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's smaller cabinet...

, lost his parliamentary seat in the 1995 election, although Tengku Razaleigh still managed to retain control of his parliamentary seat. In the end, the party did manage to secure six parliamentary seats, with support coming mainly from Razaleigh's home state in Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....


In May 1996, Semangat 46, by now greatly reduced in size and influence, Razaleigh officially announced to his remaining 200,000 members that he would disband the party, which was done so in October, and rejoined UMNO with most of the party members, while others who were denied re-admission either left politics altogether or joined PAS.
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