News analysis

Malaysia's opposition faces setback with loss of non-Malay vote

Chinese and Indian voters give cold shoulder to Mahathir's Malay-only party

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Defeat for former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad's new party at last Saturday's Slim by-election was expected, but of great concern to the opposition will be the evaporation of previously fervent non-Malay support.

This was Umno's third straight by-election win since the Mahathir-led Pakatan Harapan (PH) government was toppled in February, but significantly the first where it gained the support of voters who are not Bumiputeras - a term used to jointly refer to the Malay Muslim majority and indigenous tribes.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2020, with the headline Malaysia's opposition faces setback with loss of non-Malay vote. Subscribe