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This week’s Malaysian election is set to be a battle of ideas and ideologies.
Malaysians will be hitting the polls on Sunday at the country’s 13th general election. Malaysian political observer and PhD scholar at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Greg Lopez, said this election is significant as Barisan Nasional, which has been the ruling party since 1955, is up against a strong opposition.
“What’s at stake is the type of leadership Malaysia wants. This is a big question at the general election” Lopez said.
“Another issue at stake is whether the politics of development - where citizens trade off civil and political rights for economic development - will continue, or whether the politics of democracy - where all Malaysians have a voice on all matters equally - will prevail?
“Many Malaysians are dissatisfied with ‘doing what the government tells them to do’ and the ‘idea that the government knows best’ and are demanding they have a say in the decisions the government makes. Who will do it better? The 13th general election will decide on that.”
Lopez says he hopes that the international community will be paying close attention to how the election is run to ensure that transparency is maintained throughout the process.
“There has been fraud in Malaysian elections before, but it has never been sufficient enough to declare that the general elections are null and void. However, with the stakes at an all-time high, and with the electoral roll already revealing serious deficiencies, the international community should pay close attention to how the election is being run and ensure it is free and fair.”
Regardless of election day results, Lopez said the future of Malaysian politics promises to continue being hotly contested.
“The most important outcome to look at is what happens to UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) post-election. Often destabilisation in UMNO leads to destabilisation of the country,” Lopez said.
“The international community must also be aware and closely watch how UMNO reacts to the results of the general election.”
Follow insight and analysis on the Malaysian election results as they unfold this Sunday night at New Mandala