See More on Facebook

Politics

Malaysia’s election battlegrounds

With time rapidly ticking away before the Malaysian Parliament’s term expires on June 24, the battle to woo voters ahead of the country’s 14th General Election continues.


Written by

Updated: March 14, 2018

With time rapidly ticking away before the Malaysian Parliament’s term expires on June 24, the battle to woo voters ahead of the country’s 14th General Election continues.

Dubbed “the mother of all elections” by current Prime Minister Najib Razak, the election is expected see a fierce, three-cornered fights between the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, main opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), the country’s Islamist party.

BN, the heavyweight in Malaysian politics, has ruled the country for decades, at one point securing an impressive 198 of 222 parliamentary seats in the 2004 general election. Since then, its popularity has plunged, with the coalition losing its super majority in 2008, and the popular vote in 2013.

Still, the coalition has maintained control of 10 of Malaysia’s 13 states.

Here is a closer look at some of the states that may play a key role in the upcoming election.

Selangor

The country’s richest state, Selangor, has been under the control of Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR), a PH component party, since 2004.

Over the past 10 years, Malaysia’s opposition parties have enjoyed success in this state, even securing a two-thirds majority from 2013 to 2015, according to the Straits Times.

However, PH’s hold on Selangor has grown tenuous since the coalition parted ways with its then member PAS in 2015 due to disagreements over policies.

The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the dominant party within the BN coalition, seems keen to seize the opportunity to reclaim the state, putting forward four predecessors of current state chairman Azmin Ali as candidates.

With their former ally planning to contest 42 state seats, PH could find itself in a three-way fight in the upcoming election, which many believe will ultimately favour BN.

Johor   

This UMNO stronghold is set to become a major battleground in the upcoming election.

In addition to being UMNO’s birthplace in 1946, the state is also of great economic importance, as Francis E. Hutchinson points out in his article for The Straits Times.

Johor has voted strongly in favour of BN in the past, but the opposition has made great strides forward in recent years, with support increasing in each of the past three elections.

In the upcoming election, PH needs to secure an additional 10 seats in order to win.

While the opposition claims Johor will witness a “Malay tsunami” of voters flocking to their side, others are more sceptical, according to the Straits Times.

Johor MP and Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed told the Straits Times that the claims are an attempt to stop Chinese voters from running away from the coalition.

“The opposition has no choice but to speak about the Malay tsunami because the Chinese are fed up with them and are going to abstain in the next general election,” he said.

Other political observers have also expressed doubts, pointing to the lack of unity within the opposition, according to The Straits Times.

Kedah

In opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad’s home state of Kedah, it is uncertain whether the former prime minister’s influence will be enough to win residents over.

The state’s rural Malay voters are known to be party-loyal and care more about direct benefits, making them more likely to support BN or PAS, according to The Straits Times.

Some factors may help tip the balance in the PH alliance’s favour, such as support from non-Malays and urban voters as well as national issues ranging from rising living costs to the 1MDB scandal that have rocked the country under Najib’s watch.

“It is this combination that forces Umno to not rest on their laurels,” Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan told The Straits Times.

Still, PH faces a fierce fight to win the state.

 



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Pakistan says Asia Bibi’s rights will be respected

Imran Khan on Tuesday reaffirmed his government’s resolve to respect the Supreme Court’s judgement in the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently freed from prison after her blasphemy conviction was overturned. “As citizens of Pakistan, Asia Bibi and her family are entitled to all rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan,” the premier told European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who had telephoned Khan. According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Tajani thanked Khan for ensuring the safety and security of Bibi and her family. Assuring the prime minister of the EU Parliament’s cooperation with the Pakistani government, Tajani said that a debate on Bibi scheduled to be held in the EU Parliament had been postponed. Bibi has been blocked from leaving Pakistan after the overturning of her conviction prompted a wave of


By Dawn
November 14, 2018

Politics

Malaysia Cabinet agrees to scrap death penalty

If approved by lawmakers, capital punishment will be replaced with minimum 30 years in jail. Malaysia’s de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong told Parliament yesterday that the Cabinet has agreed to scrap the death penalty, including for murder, but Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail appeared to hedge over the matter by telling reporters that the government would review abolishing it for murder. “We are reviewing it. The death penalty is one of those that we will review,” she said when asked if the government would keep the death penalty for child murders. But when The Straits Times contacted Datuk Liew again, he insisted that “all 32 death penalty offences found in eight of our laws” would be abolished.


By The Straits Times
November 14, 2018

Politics

President Xi emphasizes role of Hong Kong, Macau

Both Hong Kong and Macao were told to integrate with nation’s overall development. President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the unique and irreplaceable role of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions for China’s reform and opening-up in the new era. He also called on the two regions to better integrate themselves with the nation’s overall development. Xi’s remarks came as he met with a delegation of about 210 representatives from the two SARs who were in Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. The position and role of Hong Kong and Macao will only be strengthened rather than weakened, Xi said. The two regions should continue to play a leading role and enable more capital, technology and talent to take part in the country’s high-quality development and in the new round of high-level opening-up, he said. People of the two regions should continu


By China Daily
November 13, 2018

Politics

Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty honour

The Amnesty International has stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the latest of several honours taken away from her since last year’s brutal military crackdown on the Rohingyas. This is the eighth honour that the former Nobel peace prizewinner has been stripped of over the past year, with Amnesty following the example of Canada, US Holocaust Museum, UK’s Edinburgh, Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle and Canada’s Carleton Universities which also revoked Suu Kyi’s honorary degrees and awards. The long-celebrated Nobel Laureate was given Amnesty’s most prestigious honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2009 marking the 20th anniversary of her arrest and 20 years since it declared her a prisoner of conscience. The AI yesterday announced withdrawal of its highest honour fr


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

Politics

Date set for Bangladesh elections

Bangladesh will hold a parliamentary election on December 23 despite the failure of political parties to resolve major contentious issues over the polls. The country’s chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda said there was a “congenial atmosphere” to hold the polls and promised it will be free and fair. “We hope we will be able to hold a free, fair and acceptable election,” Huda said in a televised address. A day before, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wrapped up week-long talks between the ruling Awami League-led 14-party combine and at least 80 parties under the banners of different alliances. During the dialogue, Jatiya Oikyafront, an alliance of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and several other opposition parties, demanded for a dissolution of parliament before the polls and the creation of a caretaker government. The ruling party, however, rejected it over const


By Asia News Network
November 9, 2018

Politics

Woman accused of blasphemy freed in Pakistan

Asia Bibi was initially found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death. After her release from Multan’s women prison in the light of the Oct 31 Supreme Court verdict overturning her conviction and death sentence, Asia Bibi was brought to Islamabad on board a special aircraft on Wednesday night, reliable sources told Dawn Newspaper. The aircraft carrying Aasia Bibi, whose acquittal of blasphemy charge sparked countrywide protests by religious parties and groups, landed at the old Benazir Bhutto International Airport of Islamabad adjacent to Nur Khan Air Base. Soon after her landing, she was taken to an undisclosed place in Islamabad amid tight security. The authorities were keeping her movement and whereabouts secret for security reasons. Authorities concerned were also tight-lipped about her future plan and it was unclear if she would be kept in Islamabad or would be allowed to fly out of the


By Dawn
November 8, 2018