Governing in the Shadow of UMNO’s long rule: Anwar Ibrahim’s Formula and Prospects for Reform


About the Webinar

Anwar’s Unity Government has survived its first half-year in power. As anticipated, it has been a challenging period filled with a steady stream of political attacks meant to destabilize and derail. The backdrop, however, is even more complex. UMNO’s second successive electoral defeat last November quashed expectations of a comeback and conclusively ended the long era of its dominance. But many elements of the political regime that it created—often, in its own image—remain in place and continue to shape politics. In short, Anwar must govern in the shadow of UMNO’s decades-long hegemonic rule. This imposes constraints on what the government can and cannot take on, particularly in light of its ongoing challenge to maintain legitimacy among segments of the electorate, especially the Malay ground that remains wary toward Pakatan Harapan (PH). How will Anwar’s administration navigate these constraints? Will the PH-led government, as a grand-coalition of different interests, fare better or worse than other political arrangements?

This webinar addresses these questions from the perspectives of political science and political practice. Professor Kai Ostwald will deliver a presentation, followed by responses from Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad.

About the Speakers

Kai Ostwald is Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and was Visiting Senior Fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. He is also Director of UBC’s Institute of Asian Research and Associate Editor of Pacific Affairs.

Datuk Seri Utama Hasni Mohammad is MP for Simpang Renggam and state assemblyman for Benut, Johor. He currently chairs the Johor Economic, Tourism and Cultural Office Singapore (JETCO). He was formerly Johor’s Chief Minister, member of UMNO’s supreme council, and chair of Barisan Nasional Johor.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.

If you have questions for the speakers, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speakers during the Q&A session.


Jun 22 2023


10:00 am - 11:30 am