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Dual Coalition System in Malaysia: Beyond Communal Politics

Ang, Ming Chee LU (2011) Exploring Frontiers of Southeast Asian Area Studies: Asian Perspectives
Abstract
For the first time since 1969, Malaysian politics witnessed the formation of a significant (albeit rather unstable) dual coalition system, when the opposition front Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance) successfully challenged the Barisan Nasional (National Front)’s traditional two-thirds dominance of parliament in the 2008 General Election. With the parliamentary margin between the two political coalitions narrowed significantly, scholars and pundits hailed these developments as the dawn of a true democracy in Malaysia. Nevertheless, will this political opportunity fade away like those in the past, or will it prompt a full-blown democratization and establish a sustainable dual coalition system in Malaysia?

Opposition parties have... (More)
For the first time since 1969, Malaysian politics witnessed the formation of a significant (albeit rather unstable) dual coalition system, when the opposition front Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance) successfully challenged the Barisan Nasional (National Front)’s traditional two-thirds dominance of parliament in the 2008 General Election. With the parliamentary margin between the two political coalitions narrowed significantly, scholars and pundits hailed these developments as the dawn of a true democracy in Malaysia. Nevertheless, will this political opportunity fade away like those in the past, or will it prompt a full-blown democratization and establish a sustainable dual coalition system in Malaysia?

Opposition parties have formed political coalitions to challenge the domination of the Barisan Nasional coalition in the past. These include the Socialist Front (1958-1969), the Gagasan Rakyat (People’s Concept) (1990-1996), the Barisan Alternatif (Alternative Front) (1999-2001) and the Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance) (2008-current). Although these opposition coalitions successfully captured a significant number of votes in elections, they failed to reduce the Barisan Nasional’s tenure of power. Why did these efforts to institute a meaningful change of power fail? To better understand this phenomenon, this article studies the trends of political transition in Malaysia and argues that structural limitations and weak coalition between the opposition parties are two of the most critical factors that have constrained the democratization process in Malaysia.

This article is divided into three sections. It begins by exploring the domination of the Alliance and the Barisan Nasional coalition in Malaysian politics. The second section identifies two variables that are of significance for political reforms, namely the structural limitations within the non-liberal political system and mobilization capacities of the opposition parties. The final section relates the current political developments in Malaysia and explains the motivation for reforms among politicians. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
Politics, Malaysia, election, coalition
conference name
Exploring Frontiers of Southeast Asian Area Studies: Asian Perspectives
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
1a32a095-9cc6-49be-9da2-3082b1bda6ab (old id 4354819)
date added to LUP
2014-03-18 15:39:00
date last changed
2016-07-05 09:04:48
@misc{1a32a095-9cc6-49be-9da2-3082b1bda6ab,
  abstract     = {For the first time since 1969, Malaysian politics witnessed the formation of a significant (albeit rather unstable) dual coalition system, when the opposition front Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance) successfully challenged the Barisan Nasional (National Front)’s traditional two-thirds dominance of parliament in the 2008 General Election. With the parliamentary margin between the two political coalitions narrowed significantly, scholars and pundits hailed these developments as the dawn of a true democracy in Malaysia. Nevertheless, will this political opportunity fade away like those in the past, or will it prompt a full-blown democratization and establish a sustainable dual coalition system in Malaysia? <br/><br>
Opposition parties have formed political coalitions to challenge the domination of the Barisan Nasional coalition in the past. These include the Socialist Front (1958-1969), the Gagasan Rakyat (People’s Concept) (1990-1996), the Barisan Alternatif (Alternative Front) (1999-2001) and the Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance) (2008-current). Although these opposition coalitions successfully captured a significant number of votes in elections, they failed to reduce the Barisan Nasional’s tenure of power. Why did these efforts to institute a meaningful change of power fail? To better understand this phenomenon, this article studies the trends of political transition in Malaysia and argues that structural limitations and weak coalition between the opposition parties are two of the most critical factors that have constrained the democratization process in Malaysia. <br/><br>
This article is divided into three sections. It begins by exploring the domination of the Alliance and the Barisan Nasional coalition in Malaysian politics. The second section identifies two variables that are of significance for political reforms, namely the structural limitations within the non-liberal political system and mobilization capacities of the opposition parties. The final section relates the current political developments in Malaysia and explains the motivation for reforms among politicians.},
  author       = {Ang, Ming Chee},
  keyword      = {Politics,Malaysia,election,coalition},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Dual Coalition System in Malaysia: Beyond Communal Politics},
  year         = {2011},
}