Beyond the Barisan Nasional? A Gramscian Perspective of the 2008 Malaysian General Election (Report)
Contemporary Southeast Asia, 2009, April, 31, 1
Contemporary Southeast Asia
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The 8 March 2008 general election in Malaysia has been characterised as a "political tsunami". (2) The ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front, BN) coalition (3) suffered unprecedented losses while the primary peninsular opposition parties--Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People's Justice Party, PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, PAS)--posted remarkable gains. This was a particularly stunning result for the opposition considering the outcome of the previous general election in 2004 when the BN swept the Dewan Rakyat, Malaysia's lower house, winning 198 seats to the opposition's combined total of 21, plus all but one state legislature. In contrast, 2008 represents a significant reversal for the BN coalition with its share of seats in the Dewan Rakyat plunging to 63 per cent and its overall popular vote to 51 per cent. Four additional state governments also fell to the opposition. In the aftermath of March 2008 the Malaysian political landscape has gone through a number of upheavals with questions raised over the continuing viability of BN coalition rule and the future sociopolitical direction of the country. Two issues in particular stand out. First, the BN coalition has lost its two-thirds majority in parliament and therefore its ability to amend the constitution unimpeded, a critical indicator of political legitimacy in Malaysia. Secondly, on 1 April, PKR, PAS and the DAP officially joined forces to form the Pakatan Rakyat (People's Alliance, PR). (4) While the PR does not yet officially have the numbers in parliament to gain control of the government, its de facto leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has publicly claimed to have the necessary numbers willing to cross over from the BN and join the PR. Explicitly contained within both issues are questions concerning the evolving nature of national identity and, in particular, the need for all parties to seriously consider the concept of bangsa Malaysia, a Malaysian nation that transcends ethnic identity. Such concerns about the constitution of national identity are clearly reflected in the 2008 results, which point to a pluralisation of the political system and a popular desire for a more inclusive, ethnically-neutral political discourse.
- 2,99 €
- Categoría: Política y actualidad
- Publicación: 01/04/2009
- Editorial: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)
- Páginas impresas: 35 páginas
- Idioma: Inglés