Malaysia underwent two dramatic power transitions within the space of two years. In May 2018, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition defeated the Barisan Nasional (BN) in Malaysia’s 14th General Elections, ending BN’s 61-year rule. By March 2020, the PH government had fallen, due to internal divisions within its coalition members. Today, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, previously the Minister of Home Affairs in the PH government. There are multiple narratives on why the PH government fell, and these suggest that PH’s prospects for Malaysia’s looming 15th General Elections are at best, uncertain.
On 4 September 2020, RSIS Malaysia Programme held an event titled “Why the Pakatan Harapan Government Fell, and the Coalition’s Prospects for GE15” to provide an insider’s view on these issues. The event featured Mr Nik Nazmi bin Nik Ahmad, Parti Keadilan Rakyat Member of Parliament for Setiawangsa and Chairman of the Parliament Special Select Committee on Defence and Home Affairs, and Mr Jahabar Sadiq, Chief Executive Officer and Editor of The Malaysian Insight.
Mr Nik Nazmi spoke about the coalition’s structural, leadership, and ideological challenges in the lead up to the Sheraton Move that triggered the PH government’s collapse, while Mr Jahabar stressed that the fractured coalition must now focus on forging a policy platform that can reunite PH. The two speakers also touched on the viability of Anwar Ibrahim as the Opposition’s PM candidate, the strengthening position of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), and the changing priorities of the next generation of voters. The panellists emphasised the important role of Pakatan Harapan’s next generation of leaders in engaging and appealing to the younger voters.
Catch it here on the RSISVideoCast YouTube channel: