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Exit Pak Lah April 2, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : Malaysia, World politics , add a comment

badawianwarIt’s been in the works for quite some time, but Malaysia’s unpopular prime minister Abdullah Badawi (nicknamed Pak Lah – “uncle Abdullah”) finally handed in his resignation to the Malaysian king yesterday. He will be succeeded by his deputy prime minister and successor as UMNO party president, Najib Tun Razak.

After UMNO has been losing ground over the last few years, in 2008 in particular, the challenges for Najib will be great. While Malaysia is being hit harder and harder by the international financial crisis, Najib will have to reform and revitalize his party, the Barisan Nasional coalition and the government of Malaysia itself if he is to have any hope of holding the opposition coalition under the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim at bay.

On taking office, the heredtary nobleman Najib is already shrouded in suspicions of corruption and scandal – none of which have been yet to stick in court, but are accepted by large parts of the population. His work is certainly cut out for him. (more…)

Najib’s challenges March 17, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : Malaysia, World politics , 1 comment so far

The Far Eastern Economic Review carries an interesting article about the challenges faced by the new UMNO leader Najib Tun Razak as he is just now ascending to the throne of the Malaysian ruling party. His predecessor was punished by the electorate for failing to deliever the reforms he had called for. Now Najib is about to take over power when it is at an all time low, and when Malaysia is plagued by new political scandals weekly. Barry Wein from FEER notes that the hereditary nobleman Najib, political hot shot since the age of 22 and son of the founder of the government coalition, seems a very unlikely candidate to be a big reformer and steer Malaysia towards real democracy. From what I’ve learned through following Malaysian politics, I would concur.

No change for Malaysia? January 27, 2009

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badawianwarThere is a mood of anticipation over the world as Barack H. Obama (as I now understand we should call him) has taken his seat in the Oval Office. This mood of anticipation and great expectation of change is not unlike what had the opposition movement in Malaysia whipped up last year when Anwar Ibrahim made his comeback into Malaysian politics. But did change never come?

September 16 2008, the opposition movement’s new national day, was announced to be the day the roots of the Malaysian establishment would shake and mass defections from the government coalition would be announced. The blogging community and opposition coalition leaks had the tally at more than 30 MPs ready to jump sides, and the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition ready to sweep in and take power. But the day came and went with out much of the announced ruckus. Certainly no mass defections. (more…)

10-minute guide to Malaysian Politics: A foreigner’s view October 7, 2008

Posted by Sverre in : Malaysia, World politics , 4comments

Malaysian politics are fascinating, but as with any country not easy to understand unless you’ve studied them. I’ve had a keen interest in Malaysia for a few years, so I’ll try to sum up the most important things you need to know to follow what’s going on. This reflects my understanding of things, which I admit may be flawed. Please comment on any mistakes you believe I have made. Also a word of caution: Wikipedia articles on these subjects have occasionally been contaminated by “jokes” or partisan statements and should be used with caution. (more…)