The Party of Hardship: What Shaped Malaysia’s People Justice Party (PKR) from 1999 to 2022


About the Webinar

Outsiders have always characterised Malaysia’s People Justice Party (PKR) to be a party mired with infighting, defections, and as the “weakest link” in its coalitions. However, party insiders would describe their tireless contributions to the party as true sacrifice and attribute their success today—a governing party with its president Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister, after 23 years—to its perseverance, openness, and courage.

Every party will have its core identity, that is shaped less by its constitution and proclaimed idealism, but its collective actions and responses during crises. PKR has been ridden with crises from the start, perhaps more than any other mainstream party. For PKR, its most lasting identity has revolved around its big-tent approach, ideological synthesis to find a middle ground, and its loose organisation led by personality at the top and self-organisation at the grassroots.

Based on archival research and informant interviews, this webinar will analyse the evolution of the party over four periods: formation (1999-2004); golden era (2005-2013); consolidation and pursuit of power (2014-2018); and victory within constraints (2019-2022).

About the Speaker

Mr James Chai is a former Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. His work as a fellow and columnist has appeared in The Guardian, Bloomberg, TIME, Washington Post, Channel News Asia, The Straits Times and others. He is also the author of the bestselling book “Sang Kancil: A Tale About How Ordinary Malaysians Defied the Odds” by Penguin Random House SEA.


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 speaker, 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.


May 20 2024


10:00 am - 11:15 am

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