The Facade of Reform in Malaysia

Though both candidates promise democratic and economic reform, the upcoming elections in Malaysia may offer only false hope.

By the first of May, a veritable election campaign had already begun in Malaysia despite the fact that the next general election was not yet called. With the country’s sinking economy and protests rising in the streets, a lot is at stake.

For over a year now, Malaysia has been in the grip of election fever. The 13th general election is due by March 2013, but speculation is rife since Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak first talked about it last summer, leaving everyone to guess about its timing and impact. The election could be held as early as this summer. In some places, banners and flags of political parties were already up in the spring even though official campaigning is only allowed for seven days before general elections.

Political parties, postponing their organizational polls and other work, had begun to…

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