Special Forum

The expression “New Malaysia” or Malaysia Baharu emerged in 2016 as a semantic capsule for the democratic aspirations of the movement for electoral reform Bersih (“clean” in Malay), whose rally in November of that year brought more than 100,000 people to the streets of Kuala Lumpur.1 “New Malaysia” soon became the leitmotiv of the entire opposition movement to overthrow the Najib Razak government (2009-2018) embedded in the world financial scandal 1MDB.2 On May 9,, 2018 the opposition coalition, Pact of Hope (Pakatan Harapan or PH), led by Mahathir Mohammad, won the general elections, slaying 61 years of single party rule. Malaysia Baharu was born; and with it, the hopes of democratization.

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