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Malaysia’s Upcoming General Election: Players, Issues and Possible Outcomes
11 Nov 2022
Nawaljeet Singh

Malaysia’s 15th General Election (GE15) was held on 19 November 2022. Three main coalitions, viz. Barisan Nasional (BN), Pakatan Harapan (PH), and Perikatan Nasional (PN) raced against one another to lead the next government. Before the results were announced officially, many analysts had predicted a hung parliament, paving the way for a new post-election coalition to form the government.

This GE took place in uncharted waters with several new factors.  Only three of the 13 states, viz. Pahang, Perlis, and Perak held their state elections concurrently, rather than the usual 12.  Around 5.8 million more new and young voters had been added to the electoral roll — a 40% increase from the last general election in 2018.  Heavy rains and floods were predicted.  All this might have influenced voter turnout, a key factor determining results.

The Malaysia Programme at RSIS hosted a webinar in the lead up to GE15, titled “Malaysia’s Upcoming General Election: Players, Issues and Possible Outcomes” on 11 November 2022. The webinar featured Dr Meredith Weiss, Visiting Senior Fellow at RSIS and Political Science Professor at the State University of New York at Albany; and Mr Ibrahim “Ben” Suffian, Programmes Director of Merdeka Centre.

During the webinar, Dr Weiss detailed how fragmentation and combination of the various parties, coalitions, and candidates had further blurred the outcome of the elections. Mr Ibrahim Suffian noted the changing dynamics of the voter landscape, particularly with the salience of youth and non-Malay voters. The speakers also discussed the state of individual parties and coalitions, communication efforts, factors affecting voter turnout, economic concerns versus identity and religious issues, and Malay voters’ perception of BN and PN.

The webinar was attended by researchers, media outlets, as well as members of the public.

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