News / Asia

Landmark Election Could Bring Big Change to Malaysia

Landmark Election Could Bring Big Change to Malaysiai
X
April 29, 2013 12:41 PM
Malaysia has been a model of political stability over the decades, with the same alliance of parties ruling the country since 1957. But as Malaysians prepare to head to the polls on May 5th, many observers believe that could all change -- with an unlikely alliance comprising secular and religious parties mounting a strong challenge for power. Rian Maelzer reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Rian Maelzer
Malaysia has been a model of political stability over the decades, with the same alliance of parties ruling the country since 1957.  But as Malaysians prepare to head to the polls on May 5, many observers believe that could all change -- with an unlikely alliance comprising of  secular and religious parties mounting a strong challenge for power.
 
It is shaping up to be the closest election in Malaysia’s history.  The campaign is pitting the National Front, headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak, against the opposition People’s Pact, led by former deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
 
The ruling National Front is a long-established alliance, made up of ethnic Malay, Chinese and Indian political parties.  The opposition is a more recent, looser and diverse alliance.  It includes an Islamist party that wants to impose Shariah law, and a mostly-Chinese left-of-center party that staunchly opposes that goal.
 
“It’s a landmark election here in Malaysia, because never in this country’s history have we had the opposition being this strong, this poised, and this prepared to take power in the over 50 years since the country gained independence,” noted political analyst Ibrahim Suffian.

Prime Minister Najib pointed to the country’s strong economic growth, and the numerous economic and political reforms he has enacted in his four years in office.  His coalition warned that Malaysia’s future prosperity and stability are at stake if the opposition were to win.
 
Norraesah Mohamad of the ruling party UMNO, said the opposition coalition is too fractured to govern effectively.
 
“They have very very different ideologies, the three of them.  It is really they are getting together as a marriage of convenience," he remarked.  "Each one of them are rowing boats in different directions.  They do, you know, as we have a saying here, they share the same pillow but they dream differently.”

The opposition may never have ruled the country, but it has governed in five states.  Its leaders say they have demonstrated the type of transparent and efficient governance they would practice nationally if they win.
 
Despite concerns about clashing ideologies, Ong Kian Ming of the Opposition Democratic Action Party, said there is far more that unites his alliance than divides it.

“There are a lot of common points and policies that we do agree with very strongly," he explained. "For example we stand very strongly against the very rampant corruption that has been a scourge to the Malaysian political system for the longest time, since independence.  And we also stand very much for the protection of human rights.”

In the 2008 election, the opposition alliance shocked the ruling National Front by winning power in the country’s two most-developed states.  This time Anwar and the People’s Pact will hope to go one better and win power nationally.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify Power Base

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
April 30, 2013 5:10 AM
I did not know that Malasya is also a multiracial nation comprising of Malay, Chinese and Indisns. In addtion, It includes Islamists. I hope the upcoming election would be completed fairly to make progress in prosperity of Malaysia. Malaysia is one of the most popular countries for retired Japanese to spend remaining years in peace and quiet.

by: Lionel from: Malaysia
April 29, 2013 10:23 AM
GE13 Malaysia in closest elections fight in the history of Malaysia. The opposition did not rule the country till now, but they have governed four states. They have demonstrated transparent governance and systematic approach for development. The opposition, under Anwar leadership, is ahead in this tough fight. I hope Anwar wins this time and make Malaysia a better nation.

by: khan'z from: Malaysia
April 29, 2013 10:21 AM
Yes, This is the strongest opposition ever .....In the 2008 election, the opposition alliance shocked the ruling National Front by winning power in the country’s two most-developed states. This time Anwar and the People’s Pact will hope to go one better and win power nationally.

Anwar Ibrahim is our next PM :) :-)

by: Abdullah636 from: Ipoh
April 29, 2013 10:13 AM
On one side we have BN and other side we have PKR. again these parties are coalitions of different parties. PKR has a islamist party that is ready to impose the shariah law which is unliked by the chinese minority. On the other hand we have a party BN that is corrupt, racist (hating the chinese minority, also the indians). Decision is in our hands but remember a change is required, a new reformasi is essential or the country is going into wrong hands again if BN is elected.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs