Whither Barisan Nasional in Today’s Malaysia?


About the Webinar

Barisan Nasional has been foundational to Malaysia’s politics throughout most of the nation’s history. Initially named the Alliance, the grouping brought together a Malay, Chinese, and Indian-led party into a ‘grand coalition’, which subsequently led Malaya to independence. This coalition proved a potent combination, allowing its member parties to avoid competing with each other, pool resources, and strategically field candidates in different constituencies. After the 1969 unrest and subsequent declaration of Emergency, the grouping was renamed Barisan Nasional and its membership widened to bring in more parties.

However, following the 2018 general election and Barisan Nasional’s fall from power, the coalition has struggled to find its place in the country’s new political context. Some parties have left the coalition, and the decision by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to establish a partnership with the Islamic party, PAS, was at odds with BN’s philosophy. In March 2020, BN joined the ruling Perikatan Nasional administration. This decision now appears under question, as the UMNO party leadership has stated it is withdrawing from BN.

This webinar will explore Barisan Nasional’s recent decisions, current thinking in the coalition, as well as plans for the future from the perspective of two original members, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC).

About the Speakers

Datuk P Kamalanathan is the Chairman of Labuan Port Authority, and a member of the Central Working Committee of the Malaysian Indian Congress. As the Member of Parliament for Hulu Selangor from 2010 to 2018, he served as the Deputy Minister of Education (2013-2018). During his tenure, he supervised the implementation of the Malaysian Education Blueprint. Datuk Kamalanathan also sat on the Special Cabinet Committee on Indian Affairs which addressed issues pertinent to the Malaysian Indian community. He is presently pursing a PhD at the University Utara Malaysia and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Saveetha University in 2016.

Mr Gan Ping Sieu is the Founder and Senior Partner of Gan and Zul Advocates & Solicitors. He was elected as the state assemblyman for Mengkibol Johor in 2004. Subsequently, Mr Gan was elected as the Vice-President of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) in 2010. In the same year, Mr Gan was nominated into the Parliament as a senator and served as Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports (2010-2013). He is a trained lawyer by profession, graduating with an LL.B from Queen Mary College, University of London, Diploma in Syariah from International Islamic University and an LLM from the University of Malaya.


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.

Limited spaces only, register early to avoid disappointment.

To join the webinar,
1. Install the Zoom client onto your computer or download the app on your mobile device.
2. Click on the unique link in your email.

If you have questions for the speakers, 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.


Aug 03 2021


10:00 am - 11:30 am