About the Workshop:
The upcoming 14th Malaysian General Election (GE14) in 2018 is widely considered to be the most unpredictable election in the history of Malaysian politics. Several factors have contributed to this unpredictability. These include strains within Malaysia’s political scene which are characterized by the multiplication of opposition political parties; the split within the PAN Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS); factions in the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO); competing ideologies within Pakatan Harapan (PH); scandals and corruptions that have bogged down the Barisan-Nasional (BN) government; and increasing clashes between current Prime Minister Najib Razak and former premier Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Malaysia’s gloomy political climate has been further accentuated by the insecurity arising from an ongoing economic crisis. The country’s economic problems have resulted in rising living expenditures which have deeply affected the livelihoods of local Malaysians.
This workshop aims to analyze the current trends, dynamics and preliminary findings on voters’ patterns, the electorate, and political parties via data gathered from field research, interviews, statistical results, and reports. The workshop will comprise two panels arranged according to thematic, geographic and demographic lines.
The first panel will explore micro-level factors in different regions of Malaysia. Such factors include voters’ sentiments towards rising living costs and splits amongst political parties, and how such sentiments are translated into voting patterns. The sympathetic feelings of voters towards the opposition or the government in both peninsular and east Malaysia will also be analyzed. There will be a comparison and analysis of Malay voter patterns in urban and heartland rural areas.
The second panel will discuss the effects of macro-level factors on GE14. These include the control of government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment by the current Najib administration, issues pertaining to ethnicity in economic participation and social assistance, the impact of Malaysia’s foreign policy, the role of religion and ethnicity, and women’s political involvement. In addition, the impact of macro-level factors on political parties’ formulation and implementation of their campaign strategies will be assessed.