The Political Landscape in Malaysia Ahead of GE-15

Malaysia in Transition Seminar Series

About the Seminar

On 14th September, PAS and UMNO rallied more than 200,000 of their grassroots members and supporters to witness the signing of their joint charter at the 2019 People’s Unity Rally [Himpunan Penyatuan Ummah] at the UMNO headquarters.

The charter, which has five core points centred on unifying the Muslim community, is expected to pave the way for both political parties to run as a team at the next general election due in or before 2023. It is a historic moment as the two largest Malay-based parties chose to end more than 40 years of enmity to forge a pact aimed at unifying Malay voters.

Political analysts observing recent political developments in the country have said that the UMNO-PAS pact was a clear sign of loss of faith towards the Pakatan Harapan administration in handling sensitive issues relating to the status of Islam as the official religion of Malaysia.

While the country is affected by the global economic downturn, Malaysians are currently witnessing the power struggle between Prime Minister and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PBBM) president Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader Anwar Ibrahim. Adding to the drama are videos and rumours regarding proposed cabinet changes. These internal problems are also causing troubles to other Pakatan Harapan members. Coupled with the threat posed by the PAS-UMNO pact, what will be the political directions taken by them individually? How will they fare in the next election?

It is difficult for non-Malay Muslim voters look at the PAS-UMNO pact beyond its focus on racial and religious issues. Therefore UMNO and PAS must deliver a convincing manifesto if they want to capture support from upper middle-class urban voters, especially the non-Malays along the west coast states. How will MCA and MIC – UMNO’s Barisan Nasional coalition partners – deal with their supporters in order to stop the Democratic Action Party (DAP) from taking all the non-Muslim votes? What do they need to do to put to rest fears of racial polarization caused by the PAS-UMNO pact?

The discussion of the political landscape in Malaysia will provide the opportunity to ponder on the need of the Malay-Muslim community to forge a common force to pave a better political and economic atmosphere for the community and the nation.

About the Speaker

Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Abdul Khalid bin Ibrahim has had a distinguished career as a respected corporate man and political leader. Before entering the political scene in 2007, Abdul Khalid was a successful corporate man. Between 1979 and 1994, he held the position of CEO at Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) – Malaysia’s largest government-controlled fund management company – where he played a major role in setting up Amanah Saham Nasional Berhad, a unit trust established to acquire equity stakes in major corporations listed on Bursa Malaysia. He is also well-known for the legendary “Dawn Raid” on the London Stock Exchange in 1981 which saw PNB gaining a 51% stake in British plantation firm Guthrie. He was subsequently made the CEO of Guthrie Malaysia – a position he held between 1995 and 2003. He was also the chairman of Highlands and Lowlands and Guthrie. Between March 2008 and September 2014, he was the Chief Minister of Selangor – the most developed state in the country. During his administration, Selangor attracted almost RM50 billion worth of investments which created more than 123,000 jobs. From RM 800 million in 2007, the state’s reserves swelled to their highest of RM3.4 billion by September 2014.

Throughout his extensive corporate and professional life, Abdul Khalid acquired deep and valuable knowledge of the corporate world and financial sector. He now sits in the economic advisory committee for the states of Kelantan and Terengganu.


For registration, please click here. Registration closes on 14 October 2019.


Oct 16 2019


11:00 am - 12:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2