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For Malaysia's Ruling Coalition, the Honeymoon's Over

Jun 19, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad delivers a speech during a conference in Tokyo on May 30, 2019.

Economic, political and academic leaders from the Asia-Pacific region, including Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, recently gathered in Tokyo for the 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia to discuss regional issues, as well as Asia’s evolving role in the world.

(TOMOHIRO OHSUMI/Getty Images)

It's been just over a year since Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his Pakatan Harapan coalition took office in an election upset that unseated the country's monolithic Barisan Nasional coalition. But after more than six decades at the helm, Barisan Nasional's political roots run deep, with an extensive bureaucratic influence that its newly minted successor has yet to achieve. Since taking office in May 2018, the ruling coalition's approval ratings have plunged from nearly 80 percent to roughly 39 percent in March. The government's inability to fully deliver on its promise of economic prosperity, as well as recent signs of internal discord, continues to dampen its legitimacy among voters. Meanwhile, the handover of power to a new prime minister risks crumbling the coalition's already fragile unity altogether in the years ahead. This, combined with looming global threats to Malaysia's economy, will further jeopardize the new government's ability to pass key...

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