Is Malaysia’s Democratic Experiment Imploding?

A protester holds a cut-out of the new prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Feb. 29, 2020 (AP photo by Vincent Thian).
A protester holds a cut-out of the new prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Feb. 29, 2020 (AP photo by Vincent Thian).

Less than two years after Malaysia’s landmark May 2018 election that ousted its long-ruling coalition, tensions within the government exploded into the open in recent weeks, upending the country’s politics. Nonagenarian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned late last month in an apparent attempt to ditch most of his allies from the Pakatan Harapan coalition, which he had led to an upset victory against the scandal-plagued Barisan Nasional bloc in 2018, and form a new, essentially ethnic Malay government. It would have included his old party, the United Malays National Organization or UMNO, which led the Barisan Nasional during its six-decade […]

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