Seminar: Malaysian GE-14 Election Scenarios: Old and New Terrain
About the Seminar
Prime Minister Najib Razak must hold the next Malaysian elections by August 2018. The country has started to enter election mode, with the opposition Pakatan Harapan declaring recently its leadership line-up. What are the chances of the respective contenders? What will influence the outcome? This seminar draws on voting behaviour data in earlier elections and field interviews to lay out the different factors that will potentially shape Malaysia’s GE-14 results. While previous elections have revolved around the 3-Ms – media, machinery, and money – this upcoming election will centre on the 3-Ds – deals, data and delivery. Leadership and political parties are being similarly tested in new ways, as electoral system engineering has evolved in a highly contested dynamic. The key socio-political divides are no longer just along ethnic lines, but involve other social cleavages such as age, region and class, and the political rhetoric is taking on more confrontational tones in what remains a deeply polarized political environment. Trends point to a fundamentally different contest, but given the unprecedented mobilization of state resources and levers of power on the part of the incumbent leadership, it remains to be seen whether the result will differ from the past.
About the Speaker
Bridget Welsh is a Visiting Professor of Political Science at John Cabot University in Rome, where she will join the faculty full-time this August. She specializes in Southeast Asian politics, with particular focus on Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. She has edited/written numerous books including, Reflections: The Mahathir Years, Legacy of Engagement in Southeast Asia, Impressions of the Goh Chok Tong Years, Democracy Takeoff? The B.J. Habibie Period, Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years (a Malay edition Bangkit was published in 2014) and The End of UMNO? Essays on Malaysia’s Dominant Party and over fifty chapters and academic articles. Her research reflects a keen interest in democracy and governance in East Asia, especially Southeast Asia. She is a member of the Asian Barometer Survey Southeast Asia team, and is currently directing the survey projects in Malaysia and Myanmar. From 2015-2016 she was a professor of political science at Ipek University in Turkey. Prior to joining Ipek, she taught at Singapore Management University, the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC and Hofstra University in New York. She received her doctorate in political science from Columbia University, her language training at Cornell University (FALCON) and bachelor’s degree from Colgate University. She is also a Senior Research Associate of the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of National Taiwan University, a Senior Associate Fellow of The Habibie Center, a University Fellow of Charles Darwin University, a Senior Advisor for Freedom House and a member of the International Research Council of the National Endowment for Democracy.