A new dawn in Malaysia

Mahathir and Pakatan Harapan have achieved a stunning election victory. Now they must deal with major challenges, not least how to make their unlikely coalition work effectively.

New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

Nobody saw it coming. Sure, we all knew that Malaysia's 14th general election (GE14) would be a close contest. But we also knew that Umno was going to employ every trick in the book to ensure its Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition retained power. In fact, the widely held view on the eve of the election was that although BN will lose the popular vote, it would still be able to retain political power in Malaysia's highly disproportionate electoral system.

This was supposed to be the "foregone conclusion" after a redelineation exercise was rushed through Parliament at the eleventh hour, no doubt intended to create a situation reminiscent of 2013 when the incumbent managed to transform a 3 per cent deficit in popular vote into a comfortable 21-seat winning margin.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2018, with the headline A new dawn in Malaysia. Subscribe