Taib Mahmud and Musa Aman

One of Malaysia’s top political scientist focusing on East Malaysian politics, and regular New Mandala contributor, Dr. Arnold Puyok, will be giving a seminar at the Australian National University, on 20 November 2013. New Mandala readers in the Canberra area, are most welcomed to hear Dr. Puyok discuss the fortunes of two of Malaysia’s resource rich but poorest states, post Malaysia’s GE13.

Details as follows.


PSC Reading Room, Level 4, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU


Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. [PLEASE NOTE REVISED TIME]

Post Malaysian GE13: Power shifting east?

In the recent general elections, Malaysia’s long standing ruling coalition, the Barisan Nasional (BN), was returned to power. But, yet again, without its customary two-thirds majority victory in parliament. As expected, Sabah and Sarawak contributed significantly to ensure the BN’s continued rule in Malaysia. Despite the opposition’s success in breaking BN’s five decade-long hegemony in Peninsular Malaysia, it failed to make electorally significant headway in East Malaysia. The opposition’s failure in Sabah and Sarawak, and the unlikely possibility that situation on the Peninsular will change significantly, translates into the fact that the BN will continue to bank on the support of the East Malaysian electorate to remain in power. With Sabah’s and Sarawak’s nascent power, regional issues are expected to be brought to the fore by the local political elites. The positive outcome of East Malaysia’s rise to prominence is that it gives the opportunity for Sabah and Sarawak to strengthen their autonomy – should they choose – and to demand for more development support/allocation to be channeled to East Malaysia. However, the lack of mass political participation, lethargic civil society movement, and the salient role of the “politics of development” will continue to deepen the dominance of the local ruling political elites.

About the speaker

Dr Arnold Puyok is a senior lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Relations, Faculty of Social Science, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. His area of expertise are in contemporary East Malaysian politics, ethnic politics, the politics of state-federal relations, and Southeast Asian politics. His latest works focus on the role of Philippine domestic politics in the claim to Sabah and the rise of Christian political consciousness in Malaysia. Dr Puyok has published his works in Contemporary Southeast Asia, the Asian Journal of Political Science, Asian Politics and Policy, and Kajian Malaysia (Malaysian Studies). His latest publication is “Sabah’s rise to national prominence and UMNO deepening dominance” in “Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years”, edited by Bridget Welsh and U.H. Chin. Dr Puyok also writes regularly for local media outlets.