Trends among the Malay Electorate: the Urban Voters



About the Seminar

In the last general election, the majority of Malaysia’s urban voters chose the opposition coalition. From the 97 urban and semi urban seats in the country, only 25 seats were won by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition while the other 72 fell to the federal opposition. As Malaysia moves closer to the next general election, it is widely believed that a ‘Malay tsunami’ is needed by the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition if they were to defeat the BN. Pakatan Harapan needs to create a large swing away from the BN among rural Malays, while persuading the urban Malays remain supportive of, or start supporting, their call for change. The question therefore is whether the urban Malays will indeed support Harapan in GE14.

In this seminar, the speaker will present his findings from a series of focus group discussions conducted with urban Malay voters in Kedah and Johor, the top two states that are being targeted by Pakatan Harapan. The study focused on three issues: what are the key factors that may influence the voting intentions of urban Malay voters; what do they think of Prime Minister Najib Razak and BN; and what is their opinion on former Prime Minister turned opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad and Pakatan Harapan.

About the Speaker

Wan Saiful Wan Jan is a Visiting Senior Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute and Chief Executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (, Malaysia. He is a regular commentator on Malaysia affairs. He has an English column in Malaysia’s leading English daily The Star, and a Chinese column in Malaysia’s most widely circulated Chinese newspaper Sin Chew. His opinion is quoted in various media, including the Straits Times, Reuters, CNN, and The Economist.

To register, please fill in this form and email to by 5 February 2018.


Feb 06 2018


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2