Problematising the Ethics and Conduct of the Ruling Party during Series of Malaysia’s Post-political Tsunami By-elections

  •  Badrul Azmier Mohamed    
  •  Mujibu Abd Muis    
  •  Jennifah Nordin    
  •  Mahazril ‘Aini Yaacob    
  •  Chuah Bee Peng    
  •  Zaherawati Zakaria    
  •  Nazni Noordin    


The ethical aspect of election is inherently an uncommon topic to be brought up for discussion in Malaysia, and more so when it involves the ruling party. Essentially, the ethics of election is in itself an exceptionally rare subject since ethics and politics are not commonly discussed. The ethical dimension of politics is often camouflaged as the seemingly more important and desirable sub-topics of transparency and accountability in the discussion of good governance. This leads to an obvious slant towards administration (even though administration and politics are invariably inextricable). In Malaysia, good governance in politics is classified under the universal values that are in line with the claim for democratization. It has become an issue after 1997 following a few major global and national events specifically the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the sacking of the then Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, and the 1999 General Election. All these happenings awakened a quest for a more meaningful and more specific democratization focusing on the issue of ethics and election, pressing for a fairer and more transparent election. The increasingly forceful claim for such democratization crescendoed to the 2008 election results that crumbled the hegemony of the ruling party, Barisan Nasional. Consequentially, to regain the confidence of the public, the ruling party has spearheaded a few transformation programs, among them the concepts of ‘1Malaysia, People First Performance Now’, and the Government Transformation Program (GTP). However, the target group of these concepts seems to be those in civil service rather than the leader of the country. Therefore, the ethical conduct of the ruling party observed during the series of by-elections held after the 2008 Political Tsunami best reflects and assesses the extent of dedication and adherence of the ruling party to the aspiration of 1Malaysia and transformation.

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