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Split Malay-Muslim loyalty a challenge for Malaysia Baru

Rival political flags and banners outside a school in Pasir Gudang, Johor, on May 9. A vote for PAS, seen as the standard bearer of Islam, is a likely outcome if Umno is left severely weakened by the 1Malaysia Development Berhad investigations, says
Rival political flags and banners outside a school in Pasir Gudang, Johor, on May 9. A vote for PAS, seen as the standard bearer of Islam, is a likely outcome if Umno is left severely weakened by the 1Malaysia Development Berhad investigations, says the writer.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

In the immediate hours after Malaysia's 14th General Election on May 9, the Pakatan Harapan's (PH) surprise victory brought on a sense of euphoria that the Opposition success was made possible by an electorate that voted beyond ethnic boundaries.

Since then, a closer examination of the results suggests that the Malay vote was more likely one aimed at the scandal-tainted former prime minister Najib Razak and his imposition of the unpopular goods and services tax rather than one for wholesale political change.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2018, with the headline 'Split Malay-Muslim loyalty a challenge for Malaysia Baru'. Subscribe