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Debating the conduct and nature of Malaysian politics: communalism and new media post-March 2008

Diskussion über die Ausführung und Art der Politik Malaysias: Kommunalismus und neue Medien nach März 2008
[journal article]

Liow, Joseph Chinyong; Pasuni, Afif Bin

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Abstract The results of Malaysia's general election held on 8 March 2008 was nothing short of monumental. By winning five state legislatures and denying the incumbent governing coalition its hitherto routine two-thirds parliamentary majority, the performance of the opposition, swayed by the contribution of the new media, raised hopes that Malaysian politics had turned a corner. Following the elections, the popular discursive terrain in Malaysia was awash with talk of a "new politics" that had emerged, and that transcended the traditional narratives of race, religion, and communalism. The purpose of this paper is to examine the veracity of these claims in relation to the nature and conduct of politics in Malaysia. It argues that, three years after the 2008 elections, the communal narrative remains as forceful a factor in Malaysian politics despite the presence of a multi-ethnic opposition coalition and the hope engendered by the emergence of the new media as an equalizing factor that has eroded the incumbent’s traditional hegemonic control over information.
Keywords Malaysia; Southeast Asia; politics; political change; election result; parliamentary election; new media; opposition; political system; party; local politics; ethnic relations; reporting; online media; communications; election campaign
Classification Sociology of Developing Countries, Developmental Sociology; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Interactive, electronic Media
Method descriptive study; empirical; qualitative empirical
Free Keywords political science; area studies; Malayisa; campaigning; new media; communal politics; elections; 2000-2010
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 39-65
Journal Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 29 (2010) 4
ISSN 1868-4882
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works