The Straits Times
Published on Jan 30, 2013

Once a pushover, Malaysian opposition sniffs power


KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - After bloodying the government's nose in 2008 elections, a more experienced and organised Malaysian opposition is eyeing the once-unthinkable: toppling one of the world's longest-serving governments.

Malaysians vote soon with the formerly hapless opposition buoyed by a new track record of state-level government, signs of growing voter support, and what its leader Anwar Ibrahim calls a sense of history in the making.

"I am convinced, Inshallah (God willing), that we will win government," Mr Anwar told AFP, evoking the winds of change that powered the "Arab Spring" elsewhere in the Muslim world.

"Of course we call it a 'Malaysian Spring', but our method is elections (not uprisings)." Prime Minister Najib Razak is expected to call a fresh vote in weeks, pitting his Malay-dominated Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition against Anwar's multi-ethnic opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat.