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Malaysia

The limits to identity politics in GE14

Fracturing of Malay/Muslim parties has made it difficult to unite the Malay/Muslim electorate through ethnoreligious appeals.

Notes from the campaign: Johor, Selangor, Perak

No Malaysian election campaign is complete without these highlights of food, flags and swag, as the GE14 season enters its final days.

Notes from the campaign: Lembah Pantai

Street theatre and the wayang of politics merge one warm night in an urban battle about corruption big and small.

A politics of redemption in fractious times

How much change, beyond Najib's ousting, does a Mahathir-led coalition represent? Or does an emboldened, victorious Najib mean political rebirths are redundant?

The ‘Apa Lagi Cina Mahu’* politics of endless division

Malaysia's GE14 marks the end of Malaysian Chinese politics after 60 years of dwindling and divisive outcomes, as its modern patron UMNO itself struggles to survive.

A look at the rural Malay voter

Both sides of the political divide are trying to woo a vastly underestimated, non-homogenous rural Malay public.

Social media struggles for the opposition as BN surges

Social media is now central to any Malaysian election campaign. In 2018, the opposition is facing a far better organised incumbent than last time.

Voting for Islamisms beyond the ballot box

Political Islam at GE14 isn't just a race between parties as democratisation throws up alliances and fractures to define Muslim society.

Losing a legacy, finding a nation in Sarawak

A new generation's contest over Sarawak's lost autonomy may force its GE14 voters to reconsider how today's leaders are trapped by the past.

Mapping out elections for victory

Electoral changes recently rammed through parliament can mean winning power at GE14 with just 16.5% of the popular vote. But would such elections confer the legitimacy to rule?

The Sufi poet and the peculiar whale (part two)

A commentary on the Sufi poem of the peculiar whale, by the 16th-century Malay poet Hamzah of Barus.

In the contest for power, Malaysia’s resurgent states stake a claim

The era of Malaysia's dominant federal government may be over as its leading states push for greater autonomy.

Scratching the itch out east with Warisan

Can former minister and prime minister Najb Razak's ‘good friend’ Shafie Apdal sweep out Sabah's incumbents at GE14, and end up delivering power to Mahathir's opposition?

Lost in race between first world and third

Reform-minded Malaysians are fatigued after two missed opportunities since 2008, with today's centrifugal politics generating even more social tensions. Not even Dr Mahathir’s surprise (re)emergence can mend those fractures, as Malaysians dream of the First World but still struggle in the Third as inequality worsens.

Perpetual policy and its limited future as reforms stall

Reforming Bumiputera policy is a colossal project both rival coalitions are reluctant to tackle. Yet the political consensus, while striving to transcend ethnic policies in rhetoric, misconstrues and ignores the embedded preferential regime.

Sabah and its GE14 deliverance from nationalised identity

Sabah needs leaders and statesmen determined to solve its long overdue need for autonomy, without fear of injuring a federal government's pride.

From the streets to the courtroom: judicial electoral contestation

Bersih’s legal strategy to check on electoral integrity has exposed and revealed much about the redelineation process, testing the relationships between Malaysia’s political institutions.

New tech and old loyalties mash up a historic contest

The resurgence of ‘old’ Mahathir against the Najib coalition has been matched with the ‘new’, the cheap smartphone.

All the news that’s fit to fake

As Malaysia rushes to its GE14 on 9 May, the new anti-fake news law is primed against the state's critics, emboldening speech vigilantism by outsourced censors linked to the ruling UMNO party.

The (re)making of Malaysia and its fabulous 1963 promise

With Malaysia's Parliament now dissolved in the official rush to GE14's polling day, Sabah and Sarawak are again crucial states determining the winning coalition.

The truth and the fake in the making of Malaysian news

The threat to eliminate all ‘fake news’ isn’t merely an assault on the freedom of speech, it’s also an affront to its beauty, efficacy, recall, and its very existence.

As GE14 draws near…or, why hold elections?

Closer scrutiny of Malaysian elections since the era of Najib Razak's father can sharpen the contrasts over winning—and losing—legitimacy.

A ‘Malay Malaysia’, but in what sense Islamic?

The Najib government needs to win new legitimacy at GE14 if it's to juggle Malay, Islamic, and royal claims, amid a restive East Malaysia.

‘Aku nak Islam lama balik’: a look at one kampung in Sabah

Dina Zaman on how the religious tensions of Peninsular Malaysia are being imported to Sabah.