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Malaysian elections: regime caught in tight race

Media Contact

Rebecca Valli

Next week, voters in Malaysia will pick the country’s next prime minister in a general election that experts believe will be a tight race.

 


associate professor in the Government

Thomas Pepinsky

Professor of Government

Cornell University government professor and South East Asia politics expert Thomas Pepinsky, says that despite the stiff challenge faced by the long-standing National Front regime, the strength of the incumbent must not be underestimated.

Pepinsky says:

“Malaysia's general elections, scheduled for May 9, amount to a key test of the durability of Malaysia's long-standing National Front regime and the ruling United Malays National Organisation.

“The regime faces a stiff challenge from two Malay-based opposition parties: one a longstanding Islamist party, and the other a new creation of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, whose relations with current Prime Minister Najib Razak have soured over the past five years.

“The strength of the incumbent regime must not be underestimated, however. It retains the legal, infrastructural, and material resources that it has always used to prevail in Malaysia's controlled elections. With a new ‘anti-fake news’ law and newly redistricted constituencies, moreover, the regime is moving aggressively to protect its key constituency of Malay voters.”

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