Numbers tell a story and the startling story that has emerged from studying the past general election results is this: Barisan Nasional could not have gone back to Putrajaya without the controversial postal and advanced votes system.
These votes alone gave BN victory in 22 parliamentary seats, which made all the difference. Without those 22 seats, BN would have tied with opposition Pakatan Rakyat at 111 seats.
Without those key postal and advanced votes, MIC would be without the two Cabinet ministers Datuk Seri S Subramaniam (Segamat) and Datuk Seri G. Palanivel (Cameron Highlands).
Several seats in Johor and the Federal Territory would have also fallen to Pakatan Rakyat.
This new information was revealed in a voting pattern study by Merdeka Centre, which was obtained by The Malaysian Insider.
Merdeka Centre said that after stripping and analysing the data, it concluded that BN could have lost as many as 30 parliamentary seats if it did not win the postal/advance votes.
Data from different voting channels from the 222 parliamentary seats was analysed using a system designed to uncover natural groupings or clusters.
The study was able to show the voting patterns in GE13 and confirmed the rural and urban divide in Malaysia as well as the 20 percent swing of Chinese voters away from Barisan Nasional.
Merdeka Centre noted that without advance and postal votes, BN would have lost 22 parliamentary seats. This finding will cause heartache for Opposition politicians who have been campaigning for the past few years for the abolishment of postal voters, arguing that it provides opportunities for fraud.
Following the general election on May 5, PKR, DAP and PAS filed petitions seeking to nullify election results in several constituencies.
Chief among their complaints was postal and advance voting fraud, pointing out that the few votes the Opposition received through these channels was far fewer than the support shown by ordinary voters across Malaysia.
The Election Commission (EC) said that there were some 372,000 advance or postal voters and they included security forces, EC workers and the media.
Their presence in any parliamentary constituency is significant considering how closely fought the election was. On average there was about 1,100 postal votes and 800 advance voters in every constituency.
The 30 parliamentary seats that BN could have lost without the postal/advance votes are: Segamat (93.3 percent of the postal and advance votes for BN), Bagan Serai (82.6 percent for BN), Muar (87.2 percent for BN), Pulai (88.8 percent for BN), Jerai (74.2 percent for BN), Balik Pulau (89.5 percent for BN), Machang (79.2 percent for BN), Labis (89.7 percent for BN), Kuala Selangor (71.7 percent for BN), Beaufort (71.7 percent for BN), Kuala Kangsar (76 percent for BN), Hulu Selangor (83.9 percent for BN), Sungai Besar (75.1 percent for BN), Baram (89.2 percent for BN), Kulim-Bandar Baharu (88.8 percent for BN), Pasir Gudang (89 percent for BN), Tangga Batu (86.4 percent for BN), Titiwangsa (78.9 percent for BN), Tasek Gelugor (68 percent for BN), Tenom (87.6 percent for BN), Bentong (89.9 percent for BN), Cameron Highlands (91.3 percent for BN), Merbok (80.5 percent for BN), Ketereh (81.6 percent for BN), Setiawangsa (81.9 percent for BN), Mas Gading (72.3 percent for BN), Keningau (78.4 percent for BN).
Among the notable politicians in Parliament today only because of advance and postal votes are MIC's president Palanivel. He won his Cameron Highlands seat by only 462 votes. And this after snaring 91.3 percent of the advance and postal votes.
Also fortunate was Chua Tee Yong, MCA president Chua Soi Lek' son. He won the Labis seat by only 353 votes. His share of advance and postal votes: 89.7 percent.
In its report, Merdeka Centre concluded that "the implication of advance and postal voting on this election will certainly figure strongly as civil society and the opposition continue to pressure the EC for further reforms of the electoral process."