Malaysian democracy is not lost

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What new trends have emerged from Malaysia’s tumultuous General Election in May? Some argue that this time around, local issues trump race.

The dust had barely settled from Malaysia’s tumultuous General Election in May when the country found itself gearing up again for another poll. A by-election was called in July for the Kuala Besut seat after its assemblyperson, Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar, passed away. And of all states, it had to be in Terengganu.

Terengganu had sprung the biggest surprise on May 5 when it returned a result of 17-15 for the state assembly – a mere two-seat advantage keeping the incumbent BN in power. This tight outcome had caught many by surprise. After all, with 96% of Terengganu’s population comprising Malays, the state was expected to be easily retained by BN.


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