Why Change Has Not Been Possible

loading Mahathir (seated, third from left) with (from left) Parti Amanah Negara deputy president Salahuddin Ayub, PKR vice-president Shamsul Iskandar, PAS MP Mahfuz Omar and DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.

The Malaysian model is now in a cul-de-sac. To break out of it, we need to rethink the nature of political compromises.

At times when I contemplate the state of politics in Malaysia, I am reminded of a conversation I had over lunch with a senior diplomat earlier this year. It was just after Chinese New Year, and I was asked about the possibility of an opposition victory in the next general election, whenever that may be.

Circumstances were not optimistic then – and arguably have not improved since. It was just over a year since Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s jailing, and in that time the Pakatan Rakyat coalition that he led to historical results in the 2013 general election had disintegrated following an acrimonious split with PAS. 


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