Opposition Protest Rattles Confidence of Malaysia’s Najib

Over the weekend, tens of thousands Malaysian demonstrators took to the streets to demand electoral reforms from the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Najib Razak. The rally, which ended with Malaysian police arresting more than 450 people amid charges of police brutality, raised questions about whether the government might delay its plans to call early elections.

Although elections do not need to be held until April 2013, Najib, who has been working to improve his image and bolster public support for his ruling coalition, was expected to hold the polls as early as June.

“The enormous turnout indicates that there is strong opposition to the government,” John Funston, a Malaysia expert at Australia National University, told Trend Lines. “Najib must secure a majority that is not less than his predecessor in the 2008 election, and one that preferably gives him a parliamentary majority of at least two-thirds.”

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