News analysis

Malay leaders embrace Mahathir, shutting out Anwar

Malaysian PM's appearance at Malay event may win over ethnic hardliners but at a cost

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaking at Sunday's Malay Dignity Congress. With him were Malay leaders (from left) Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Abdul Rahim Hashim, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Umno
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaking at Sunday's Malay Dignity Congress. With him were Malay leaders (from left) Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Abdul Rahim Hashim, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa and Perlis Mufti Asri Zainul Abidin. PHOTO: BERNAMA
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Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's headline-grabbing appearance at the Malay Dignity Congress (MDC) on Sunday could help stem ebbing support for Malaysia's ruling coalition from ethnic hardliners in the country's majority community.

But the move may have pushed other Malaysians, who largely voted for his fledgling Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact last year, more firmly towards his would-be successor Anwar Ibrahim.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2019, with the headline Malay leaders embrace Mahathir, shutting out Anwar. Subscribe