Malaysia’s Najib Unlikely to Tame Bersih With Reform Proposals

Malaysia’s Najib Unlikely to Tame Bersih With Reform Proposals

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's announcement last week that he will introduce sweeping reforms has mostly met with a positive reception. Some observers have also added that in seizing the political initiative on reform, he has stopped the momentum of Bersih, a grouping of 62 civil society organizations closely associated with the opposition coalition.

There are grounds for a less-rosy assessment, however.

What Najib has promised, and how Bersih is likely to respond, needs to be seen in the context of both Najib's recent slump in popularity and indications that he wants to burnish his image before calling a snap election in mid-2012, about a year ahead of schedule.

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