Malaysia Votes 2018

Why Malaysia may be headed for an Indian-style democracy

The results of Malaysia's GE-14 should, in theory, be known by this evening. Projections abound, with some forecasting a solid majority for the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN), enabled by the recent redelineation exercise and abundant cash handouts. Others, in contrast, foresee a massive swing to Pakatan Harapan (PH), with West Coast states buoyed by the re-emergence of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed and riding a wave of frustration over living costs.

The only "spoiler" in this binary equation is Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), which will draw Malay votes from the two larger coalitions. However, even this factor is assessed in a dichotomous fashion, with prolonged debates about whether BN or PH will be more affected by this third force.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2018, with the headline 'Why Malaysia may be headed for an Indian-style democracy'. Print Edition | Subscribe