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

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora