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Malaysia post-2008: Old Politics, New Trajectory PowerPoint Presentation
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Malaysia post-2008: Old Politics, New Trajectory

Malaysia post-2008: Old Politics, New Trajectory

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Malaysia post-2008: Old Politics, New Trajectory

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  1. Malaysia post-2008: Old Politics, New Trajectory Professor Shamsul A.B. Founding Director Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) A presentation at the” Roundtable: Malaysia’s New Politics from Hegemony to Pluralism? “ Friday, AAS ANNUAL MEETING, March 26-27, 2009, Chicago, USA

  2. Old politics, new trajectory • Oppositionism • Two-party system analytical frame applied to Malaysia • Reality: one-party system • More useful and relevant to apply the “oppositionism” framework • Contradictions, conflicts, consensus, alliance, factionalism, etc. all taking plcae within a one party system, “within the Barisan Nasional School of Politics”

  3. Old politics, new trajectory Stable tension • Malaysians live in a society dominated by many contradictions • But we have managed to solve most of them through a continuous process of consensus-seeking negotiations at all levels within the society • Sometimes the process itself becomes a solution

  4. Two Party System Ruling Party Opposition Party

  5. One Party System NGOs & CBOs Electronic Community Ruling Party Opposition Party

  6. One-party system, new trajectory • General Elections (GE) 1999 • 1987-88 UMNO split; left half of UMNO (Mahathir & Anwar in one team) • 1997-98 UMNO split; left a half of a half of UMNO (Mahathir-Anwar split) ; Mahathir jumped boat 2003 • GE 2004: • Hope for a change: Badawi “work with me and not for me”; old Mahathir’s burden, his own new ideas • GE 2008: • “work with me and not for me” didn’t work; shackled by Mahathir’s burden, his ideas backfired

  7. Old strategy, new trajectory • Back to the streets; Anwar’s ‘weapon of the weak’ - mobilizing NGOs, Opposition Parties, Electronic community • 2007: street demonstration year • BN leadership weaknesses became target: UMNO, MCA, MIC • Issues: integrity, corruption, scandals, human rights

  8. General Elections 2008 • New oppositionism: The opposition parties, NGOs & electronic community found temporary new consensus constructed by Anwar • BN flawed strategy focusing only on opposition political parties (two-party system mentality). • BN lost two-third majority at Federal level; lost five State governments. • The new combined opposition drowned in euphoria of victory, but whereto from here….?

  9. Renewed Opposition & the Promise of New trajectory • Until today, where the new opposition is heading is totally unclear; mired with internal problems • Is Anwar leading the formation of a two-party system? • Or, is Anwar using the new opposition to fulfill a personal ambition to be Prime Minister of Malaysia? • It seems the latter: new opposition coalition is not registered as a new party; no shadow cabinet; no written alternative policy documents

  10. Where are we now, Where to? • The stable tension persists; over GE-related issues & new ones (language issue); street demonstrations here to stay • Najib is the next Prime Minister • Anwar has to bury his personal ambition; resurrect the people’s ambition for a two-party system, perhaps then he could still be PM • The future is still in Anwar’s hand. In spite of all the external support he gets, is it slipping away? • Oppositionism continues…