An Early Election for Malaysia?
Image Credit: Wikicommons

An Early Election for Malaysia?


There is once again speculation that Malaysia will hold an unprecedented early election. It’s a political soap box upon which Prime Minister Najib Razak has stood to keep his critics and those who covet his job at bay ever since ousting his predecessor in a coup almost four years ago

In this election Najib is not expected to lose but his headaches are many. In fact any one of them would be enough to drum a Western politician out of office and ensure he never returned. Malaysian politicians, however, are different and have always behaved like rulers in need of special attention.

Chief among those headaches is Najib’s promise to win back the cherished two-thirds majority that was lost in the last election.

Insiders from Najib's United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party are divided over whether a failure to achieve this will result in the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin following in Najib’s footsteps and bidding for his job. There is a realization within UMNO that holding two-thirds in the current political climate is unrealistic, nevertheless it’s a promise that Najib’s made and a cornerstone of his bid for the party’s leadership.

Elsewhere in Malaysia, protesters demanding electoral reform have been harshly dealt with, including at one protest where demonstrators were met with tear gas and arrested amid an over-the-top response by police. This echoed the harsh response in which Malaysia dealt with protesters last April.  

Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansoor is also stirring controversy, as she remains highly disliked amid her extensive business dealings and suspect political relationships. Two of her bodyguards are currently on death row for the murder of a Mongolian model and translator linked to her husband and a submarine deal with France that is currently being investigated for corruption by French authorities. She is raising further eyebrows for her perceived role in watering down the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, particularly the inclusion of a “public morality” clause that many activists suspect governments will interpret liberally to give themselves the greatest latitude in dealing with public nuisances.

Malaysia’s great religious divisions are perhaps more important to the country’s future. Najib – a moderate – has sought to exploit these for political gain, recently warning that Muslim nations dealing with youth bulges as Malaysia is risk being marginalized or lost to “apathy and extremism.”

Statistics consistently show that Malaysia’s youth vote is becoming increasingly important and could dictate the outcome of future elections. Not far behind Najib is the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who remains unlikely to win the top job but could improve upon impressive gains made in 2008 when his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) party scored unprecedented victories at the state and federal level.

Ibrahim is popular among Malaysia’s youth who are discouraged by Nagjib’s message warning against political change. Among his warnings about political change, Najib has said were the PR party to be in power for three years, the country would lose its economic sovereignty — like Greece.

Such warnings do not resonate with young voters, regardless of nationality, race or creed, and how this impacts on the coming election — which will held over the coming months — will provide an important litmus test for UMNO and its 53-year grip on power over the short to longer term.

John Chan
December 7, 2012 at 00:15

Malaysia is a state like India, a caste system society with democratic election; if it can abolish its affirmative laws and rules that guarantee the Malay’s absolute advantage in all aspects of social lives, then it can show the world it believes “equal rights, opportunities and facilities to all groups” in Malaysia.
“It is very important that nothing is done to make any one group feel that they are treated unfairly.” is a call to maintain the status quo of the prestige enjoyed by the Malays. It is time for the international community to penalize those hypocritical Malays for their discriminative affirmative actions.  

December 6, 2012 at 18:09

I agree with velu that International obeservers should be brought into Malaysia to oversee the voting process.In that way we can precisely know who the people voted for and which party has to make way. If the current party which helms the government loses, they should accept that they have failed and give in to people's wish majestically.  They should not be any  threat of disharmony by any quarters. 

December 6, 2012 at 12:59

Never judge a book by its cover and never trust a man just because he impressed you at first glance. I still remember the story of the woman who came home to find her husband's head in their house refrigerator. Then there's the case of another woman's husband whose remains were found packed in separate plastic bags in the fridge. Then there's the story of  a man found tied to a tree his body full of crawling maggots. Then there's the story …….and the story….and the case….. and ……

Subramanian Velu
December 5, 2012 at 08:40

Malaysia is a unique country with sharp divides of ethnicity of Malays, Chinese and Indians.
Genetically, socially, religiously they differ from each other distinctively.
The political system is also heavily based on these differences.
It is very important that nothing is done to make any one group feel that they are treated unfairly.
Equal rights, opportunities and facilities to all the groups are of atmost importnce for the happy unity that 
prevails now continues.
Any mis-adventure a la Indonesia will only result in un-imaginable chaos.
At this juncture, it is very important for the Malaysians to see to it that the coming General Election is held free and fair, to the satisfaction of all poilitical groups.
A loser will always raise the bogey of unfair and fraudulent election process.
It could be a wise proposition to have International Observers, as done in many countries.
This mix of ethnicity is indeed adding colour, vitality, exhuberance to the Malaysian Life.

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