The Unrealized Mahathir-Anwar Transitions: Social Divisions and Political Consequences


About the Webinar

One of the more baffling puzzles of Malaysian politics is Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim’s convoluted political relationship which thrived for many years but suddenly collapsed. After many more years, it almost unbelievably revived but just as incredulously crashed again. How did these two politicians become so tortuously entangled? What caused the Mahathir-Anwar leadership transition to fail twice, and to what political consequences? Answers to such questions cannot ignore individual character and traits, and personal ambitions and missteps. But while they are impassioned affairs for their protagonists, leadership transitions are political matters comprehensible only within their social milieu and era. This Webinar traces the Mahathir-Anwar trajectory of concord and discord to deeper social roots and political currents. The trajectory at its height concealed dissimilarities of worldview that later coincided with growing social divides in Malaysia. The presentation outlines a framework for interpreting the significance of events and details that otherwise remain personal and dramatic with no seeming cohesiveness. The Webinar concludes by considering the consequences of the two unrealized transitions for leadership succession, a reform agenda, the condition of the political class, Mahathir’s legacy, and Anwar’s position.

About the Speaker

Khoo Boo Teik is Professor Emeritus, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, and Research Fellow Emeritus, Institute of Developing Economies, Chiba, Japan. From April 2021 to September 2021 he is Visiting Senior Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore.


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.

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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 speaker during the Q&A session.


Jun 25 2021


10:00 am - 11:00 am