After Surprising Elections, True Test of Malaysian Democracy Lies Ahead

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — Since independence, Malaysia has been the kind of feeble democracy where elections have been held regularly, but where it is usually quite clear beforehand who will win — and win big. However, the latest vote, on March 8, surprised everyone, with the opposition gaining 37 percent of parliament’s 220 seats and winning control of five of the federation’s 13 states — namely Kelantan, Perak, Kedah, Penang and Selangor. After the previous election, held in 2004, the opposition controlled only Kelantan and had just 9 percent of the seats in parliament. Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of […]

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