Fiasco Looms for Malaysia’s Ruling Coalition

Fiasco Looms for Malaysia’s Ruling CoalitionOne of Malaysia’s most respected polling organizations is expected to release figures over the next few days showing that support for the ruling Barisan Nasional from all three of the country’s major ethnic groups is dropping steeply, to the point where if an election were held today,  the national coalition would be buried in a…

Malaysia’s Sarawak Strongman Steps Back

Malaysia’s Sarawak Strongman Steps BackAbdul Taib Mahmud, alleged to be one of the world’s great resources looters, reportedly is scheduled to end his 33 years as chief minister of the East Malaysian state of Sarawak. But don’t count on it. Probably whoever replaces him will have the same emasculated relationship that Russia’s Boris Medvedev had with Vladimir Putin. The…

Malaysia’s Anwar Takes a New Dare

Malaysia’s Anwar Takes a New DareThe surprise decision last month by Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to push aside Khalid Ibrahim, the respected chief minister of Selangor, one of the country’s two biggest states, and try to take the post himself is a complex gamble. Among other things, it is designed to preserve or enhance Anwar’s standing as a national…

Is Time Running Out for Najib?

Is Time Running Out for Najib?Forces aligned with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad appear to be attempting push embattled Malaysian Premier Najib Tun Razak into giving a time frame for his eventual departure from office and naming a successor, sources in Kuala Lumpur say. The sources say that successor could be hard-line Home Affairs Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, 61, who…

Mahathir Wing of UMNO Turns The Screws on Najib

Mahathir Wing of UMNO Turns The Screws on NajibPressure is continuing to rise against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, the latest in the form of an exclusive interview with Mahathir scion Mukhriz in the Malay-language newspaper Berita Harian Sunday expressing concern that the ruling national coalition could lose the next national elections under Najib’s guidance. Mukhriz’s statement, carefully couched to describe Najib’s…

Malaysia’s Najib Faces Party, Public Protest

Malaysia’s Najib Faces Party, Public ProtestMalaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak enters 2014 beset by growing hostility from both the public and within his own political party, the United Malays National Organization, characterized by a deluge of New Year messages across cyberspace celebrating the “year of barang naik,” Malay language for rising prices of items. That is a play on…

Malaysia’s UMNO Readies for its AGM

Malaysia’s UMNO Readies for its AGMMalaysia’s United Malays National Organization's five-day annual general assembly opens today in the party’s sumptuous headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. It is reasonable to expect five days of rhetoric reasserting ethnic Malay ownership of the country and a demand that all ethnic minorities, especially the Chinese, recognize that they are there as guests or bloody well…

Malaysia’s Pakatan Rakyat Loses its Luster

Malaysia’s Pakatan Rakyat Loses its LusterThe last general election is almost six months behind us, in which the narratives of Malaysian politics have been defined. The Pakatan Rakyat may have won the popular vote, leading some to believe that the opposition coalition is owed a moral mandate. However under a "first past the post" electoral system, the game is about…

Defeat for Malaysia’s Mahathir?

Defeat for Malaysia’s Mahathir?A seemingly obscure state by-election in Kedah yesterday may have signaled the cresting of the influence of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who put all of his resources and those of his son, Mukhriz, into a vain effort to defeat the Islamist Parti Islam se-Malaysia candidate. The 49-year-old Mukhriz, elected chief minister of the conservative,…

Malaysia’s Mahathir Attacks Another Successor

Malaysia’s Mahathir Attacks Another SuccessorFormer Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohamad today appears to have fired the first volley of a widely anticipated attack on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, saying the premier’s allies in recent United Malays National Organization intraparty polls preserved their positions in the UMNO hierarchy by buying votes. "We are told that they've eliminated corruption during the…