Whither Institutional Reform in Malaysia?


About the Webinar

When Anwar Ibrahim formed the Malaysian government in November 2022, popular expectations of reforms were far more muted than when Pakatan Harapan (PH) first won in 2018. After over a year, Anwar’s cobbled-together ‘Unity’ government has yet to articulate a comprehensive, agreed-upon platform or clear priorities, let alone achieve substantial reforms. The common ground undergirding the coalition Anwar heads is less about ideological compatibility than a shared interest in holding power. Yet, the component coalitions’ and parties’ election manifestos converged to a surprising extent in policy terms. Thus, an agreed-upon post-election platform that lays out targets for which to hold this government accountable in 2027 could be feasible.

However, even PH’s usually loyal followers are growing restless, due to the lack of progress on institutional reforms and indications even of a right-wing turn. This frustration is as Anwar’s administration seeks to pre-empt or counter a purported Islamist ‘green wave’, namely, the threat from the opposition Perikatan Nasional. The electoral-reform coalition Bersih, for instance, has moved from issuing reminders about promised reforms—from separation of the roles of public prosecutor and attorney general to passage of a political finance law—to a February 2024 march and talk of returning the masses to the streets, as in Barisan Nasional days. Human rights groups, the Malaysian Bar, and others have decried a lack of progress or lost ground on civil liberties and other structural reforms.

This webinar will review reforms Anwar’s government has achieved thus far and what seems likely yet to materialise; how processes of reform now compare with past approaches; and what accounts for how little has been, or seems likely to be, achieved.

About the Speaker

Dr Meredith Weiss is Professor of Political Science in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University at Albany, State University of New York.


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 speakers during the Q&A session.


Apr 29 2024


10:00 am - 11:15 am

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