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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

Studies point to possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More