An Election by Manifesto


Debates on policy became a major focus of Malaysian public discourse after March 8, 2008. Although there is much still to be desired, this shift has helped move political concerns away from issues of race and religion. In election time, this new discussion takes the form of manifestos, at both state and federal levels.

The 13th General Election holds a very real possibility of change in the federal government. Most important is the fact that never before have policies played such a prominent role in persuading voters one way or the other. The manifestos launched by both the Pakatan and BN coalitions at the national level have been hotly debated and discussed in public, especially so in the urban and middle class areas of Klang Valley and Penang.

A similar process can be observed at the state level, where both the Selangor and Penang governments launched state manifestos in mid-April, three weeks before May 5,

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