Online Opposition and Elections in Malaysia

  •  Rosyidah Muhamad    


This paper evaluates the impact of new media on election in Malaysia in the context of equalization and normalization theories in the scholarly literature. Starting in the mid-1990s, major opposition parties in Malaysia have begun to establish an online presence. Malaysia has had its elections in 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2013. Exception in the 2004 General Election, the Malaysian opposition has experienced a consistent upward trend in electoral success over the elections. Most researchers contend the Internet enabled opposition parties to make spectacular electoral gains. What does this the result mean vis-a-vis the equalization and normalization theories debate in the scholarly literature? 15 years of online opposition communication delivered on the back of rising internet penetration over the last four general elections has critically alter the election results. Hence, the equalization thesis’ prediction that the Internet holds the potential to give opposition parties equal footing to the ruling parties does explain the situation well in the country.

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