1. What do you think will be the most important issue that the new government must address?
To make Malaysia more inclusive and dynamic. This entails striking up a better deal for excluded groups, galvanizing resources and capabilities towards greater domestic investment, productivity growth and wage growth, more effectively leveraging public funds and institutions toward development objectives, and arresting the decline in quality and lack of integration in the education system.
2. What do you think is Barisan Nasional’s greatest strength?
Incumbency – including information control. BN’s performance need not excel; modest economic growth and steady delivery of social services suffice, coupled with copious handouts. Control over the mainstream media remains a powerful tool, now supplemented by online campaigns, especially for launching negative smear operations against Pakatan leaders, which are ongoing and expected to be a major tactic.
3. What do you think is Barisan Nasional’s greatest weakness?
Inability to shake its legacy of corruption and patronage, and perceptions that its politicians and affiliates are aloof, corrupt and self-enriching.
4. What do you think is Pakatan Rakyat’s greatest strength?
Sustained pressure and visibility on issues of corruption and abuse of power, now backed by five years of fairly prudent and stable governance of four states.
5. What do you think is Pakatan Rakyat’s greatest weakness?
Still vulnerable to attacks on the coalition’s cohesion or doubts toward its ability to maintain togetherness if holding power at the federal level.
6. What is your hope for Malaysia?
Less unclean, less unfree and less unfair elections
Lee Hwok Aun is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya.
New Mandala is asking Malaysians and Malaysianists worldwide their views on the two coalitions vying for power at the 13th general election in Malaysia. Their responses are published unedited.