Changing Political Dynamics in Malaysia: Role of Ethnic Minorities

Panjaj Kumar Jha was Associate Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detail profile.
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  • January 2009

    The 12th Malaysian general elections have been significant in more ways than one. Most importantly, the opposition unity combined with the grievance vote of the ethnic minorities challenged the United Malays National Organisation hegemony long prevalent in Malaysian politics. The Bersih rally and Hindraf agitation that saw large-scale mobilisation before the elections also points to the active participation of civil society. The socio-economic marginalization of the ethnic minorities, erosion of religious rights, corruption, and unemployment accelerated such a change in the political scenario. This paper looks into different facets of the changing political dynamics in Malaysia and the role of ethnic minorities. It also looks into the policy options before India with regard to ethnic Indians in Malaysia.