A paradigm shift in Malaysian politics 23 years after Reformasi

The historic bipartisan deal signed between the government and opposition Pakatan Harapan could pave the way for political reform and stability.

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim at a press conference in Petaling Jaya last week. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
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On Sept 20, 1998, Malaysian politics took a convulsive turn, as the sacked deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim was arrested after holding a huge rally, which officially kick-started the Reformasi movement that almost overthrew the dominance of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno).

Since 2018, the year Umno's 61-year dominance came to an end when Barisan Nasional (BN) lost its parliamentary majority to the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, Malaysia has had three prime ministers.

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