A two-party system is now in place, thanks to the spectacular results of the 12th general election five years ago which brought opposition parties to power at the state level. Of the many reasons ventured for this shift, the one that cannot be ignored is the impressive rise in social activism. A strong sense of empowerment has come to the fore, which the ruling coalition continues to have a difficult time managing.
The consolidation of oppositional forces in general, not only party-based ones, has been extraordinary. This makes the status quo untenable; something that the central government realises but is unable to accept wholeheartedly. This is partly because the social activism of the 21st century is very differently configured, compared to earlier decades.
Unity despite diversity
Resistance to the central power in Malaysia has, more often than not, happened along racial and religious lines. This is not strange, given the extreme multicultural nature of its population as well as the nature of the conservative compromise between the retreating British colonialists and the elite ostensibly representing the various ethnic groups.
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