Old-style politics back with a vengeance in Malaysia

Pakatan needed Mahathir to defeat Umno. The deal comes with a price in hardball politics.

Cries of Malaysia Baru have become muted of late, or even spat out ironically, complete with memes to match.

It has been just seven months since the euphoric scenes of May 9. The landmark election was supposed to be a victory for the reformists, ridding the country of the corruption-riddled Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, as well as the increasingly regressive and divisive pro-Malay policies entrenched during Umno's six decades of hegemony.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2018, with the headline 'Old-style politics back with a vengeance in Malaysia'. Print Edition | Subscribe