Assessing Political Dynamics in Contemporary Malaysia: Implications for Democratic Change
* This article focuses on the 12th General Election (GE) of 2008 and its implications for opportunities and challenges for liberal democratic change in Malaysia. * The 12th General Election of March 2008 marked an interesting turn in Malaysia’s political development. * The discussion will focus on the role of the Internet-based new media in shaping an emerging public sphere in Malaysia and some factors affecting the changing role of non-Malay voters in the political process.
* Malaysia is characterised politically, socially and culturally by its pluralism consists of a multiracial, multireligious and multi-etchnic society. * Malaysia’s population – 50.4% Malay, ethnic Chinese 23.7%, ethnic Indians 7.1%, other indigenous races 11.4% and other racial/ethnic group 7.8%. * The ethnic Chinese and Indians arrived as immigrants in Malaya in the early nineteenth century when it was ruled as a British colony. * British accorded a special status to the Malays. They believed that they should offer “protection” to the Malays, thus supplementing the protective role of the Malay rules. * At independence in 1957, Chinese and Indians were given citizenship status, and the indigenous Malays retained their “special right”, so that national and state identification was to be through “Malay Symbols”, such as allegiance to Malay royalty and the declaration of Islam as the official religion. * After Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, and the subsequent political crisis over the Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s sacking and jailing of his deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, civil society began to mobilise through the Reformasi movement, seeking to build the political/institutional foundations of an alternative form of governance – one that would be based on the principles of good governance and liberal democratic norms.
Post – Developmentalism.
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