18 May 2018
In the wake of the seismic change that was Malaysia’s 14th general election on 9 May 2018, two aftershocks are now playing out. The first, amid the euphoria of victory, sees the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition taking ground-breaking but cautious steps to put in place not just a new government but also the seeds of what could be a new political order. The second, as part of this changed landscape, sees the defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition bracing for an unfamiliar and uncertain future, with its anchor party, UMNO, under threat of deregistration.
These two aftershocks are moving in tandem as they usher in Malaysia’s new era. Uniquely this post-BN, post-UMNO phase of the country’s political evolution is being led by two colourful personalities who have become national icons but were once allies turned rivals and now allies again ̶ Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim. It was their statesmanly act of transcending their bitter differences in favour of political reconciliation that launched not just a Malay tsunami but a “people’s tsunami” that toppled the old order. It was a titanic feat that finally removed the surprisingly indefatigable former prime minister Najib Razak and, in a historic move, ended the 60-year dominance of UMNO. The road ahead for Malaysian politics will be one of evolution and change.
… Yang Razali Kassim is Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This is the first of a special RSIS Series on Malaysia’s 14th General Election and Its Aftermath.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 21/05/2018