Organized Panel Session
Malaysia’s 14th General Election (GE14) on 9 May 2018 was a historic moment in the country’s history. The Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition alliance, lead by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, prevailed against the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition, toppling the dominant incumbent that had been in power for more than 6 decades. Once a classic electoral authoritarian regime characterized by unfree and unfair elections with widespread repression, Malaysia has now entered a state of transition. Yet, exactly what the exact form the “new” Malaysia will take is exceedingly unclear. The new PH coalition government is encountering fresh tensions as they undertake the process of implementing new laws and policies while eliminating or refurbishing old ones. This panel brings together a diverse group of scholars utilizing a range of theoretical perspectives and methodologies to analyze key issues surrounding this historic moment of regime transition. Terence Gomez traces historically the political economy of state intervention in the Malaysian economy, emphasizing the varying modes and consequences of state intervention. Mohamed Nawab critically examines the future of Islam in Malaysia by analyzing the performance of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) alongside the presence of Islamists within the new PH government. Elvin Ong brings in new quantitative and qualitative evidence to reassess the alleged divide between urban and rural voters. Aida Arosoaie employs theories of masculinity and femininity to dissect the symbolic competition during the elections between Mahathir Mohamad, Najib Razak, and Anwar Ibrahim. Bridget Welsh will discuss and provide comments for the papers.