Malaysia election 2018

Malaysia’s election counting is underway, and reports abound that the opposition alliance has won. (Opposition, but led by an aging former prime minister who defected from the long-ruling party.)

Malaysia uses plurality in single-seat districts (FPTP), and is (in)famous for its severe malapportionment. It will be interesting to see how big the vote swing is, but the seats outcome apparently will be close. The BBC report linked above says the opposition has 115 seats out of 222.

8 thoughts on “Malaysia election 2018

  1. Mahathir has promised to step aside so Anwar Ibrahim – his former deputy, whom Mahathir then had jailed – can succeed him as PrM.
    An improvement, I guess, on the Trump approach, where you attend each other’s weddings at the beginning but then go on to want each other thrown in jail.

  2. Malaysia is often considered sub-democratic: they have the forms of a democracy but not the substance. Obviously the leader of the opposition/presumptive PM has connections, but how often do sub-democracies change government? Are there any implications for transition to full democracy, or is there too much noise/uncertainty to make any conclusions on the basis of an election win alone?

  3. Mahathir has promised to step aside in favour of Anwar once a royal pardon takes effect for Anwar’s sodomy convictions. That is very, very strange because it was Mahathir who first jailed Anwar, then his deputy prime minister, on the same charges. I’d mutter something about strange bedfellows but it would be wrong given the nature of the charges brought against Anwar.

  4. Malaysia is a borderline case of being an authoritarian dominant party system, not a democracy per se, but now the government has changed for the first time ever.

    I would think that the BN is similar to Mexico’s PRI party, not at all like the Botswana Democratic Party. These long ruling dominant parties throw democracy advocates for a loop. It’s not quite a democracy nor is it a dictatorship. It’s not a binary alteration like a see saw for these party systems. Is Malaysia going to be like Alberta in Canada with the dominant party changing or a binary alteration in power? One will have to wait and see for the next election.

    Odd that the previous Prime Minister defected to the opposition and won. Interesting that nobody predicted this result, wow, so many shocks and surprises in this time of epoch.

    What would the election result had been by party votes only? And as if there was a system of PR.

    • The comparison with Mexico’s PRI seems quite appropriate to me: in the era of PRI hegemony it was said that “in Mexico democracy exists 364 days a year, and it’s only absent on Election Day.” That said, PRI lost power by stages, losing control of the Chamber of Deputies in 1997 (following the landmark electoral reform of 1996), and then the all-important presidency of the nation in 2000.

  5. The Yang di-Pertuan Agung has agreed to an immediate royal pardon for Anwar. Roughly this means that Mahathir and Anwar are right back where they were in 1998 when Anwar was a reforming deputy prime minister and Mahathir sacked him and had him arrested on dubious criminal charges.

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