About the Speaker
Professor Khoo Boo Teik, Professor Emeritus, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo; and Visiting Senior Fellow, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore
About the Webinar
The Mahathir Mohamad-led Pakatan Harapan (Pact of Hope) government came to a bizarre end in late February 2020. Defectors from Harapan, led by Muhyiddin Yassin, and supported by UMNO and PAS, assembled an ad hoc coalition, Perikatan Nasional (PN, or National Alliance) which proceeded to form a new government. The protagonists in PN are political parties and politicians who portray themselves as Malay parties and Malay politicians on a mission to preserve Malay dominance. Casting themselves as a ‘Malay-Muslim front’ combatting the multiethnic Harapan that won GE14, they subverted Malaysia’s first experience of a democratic change of the national government. Yet their campaign exposes a disorder of the political system, namely, a parlous state of their Malay politics. This Webinar analyses this parlous state guided by two key questions. First, how has Malay politics turned more parlous although it dominates a system of ethnic politics? Second, why does Malay politics in its parlous condition remain a powerful ideological force? The presentation will suggest that the crux lies in the current conjuncture of Malay politics: the established projects of the Malay political class have run their course but an alternative project to replace it was aborted. Mired in repeated crises but unable to craft a fresh political settlement, Malay politics clings to eroded parameters to remain ideologically dominant.