2004 Malaysian General Elections Winning Formula

  •  Sivamurugan Pandian    


This paper explores Malaysia’s political culture emphasizing the political consensus achieved among various ethnic groups whose lifestyle, values and beliefs differ from one another. Given the Malaysian political culture which is very much fragmented, the forming of the Alliance, or National Front (NF), has not only helped reduce ethnic-based conflicts but also manage a government. Within 4 months of taking over the reins from Tun Dr.Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has led the country into its 11th general election only to obtain a landslide victory and thus, a bigger mandate as Prime Minister. This provided him the legitimacy of forming a new cabinet along with members whose sole duty is to deliver the goods to a nation of 23.2 million people. What is Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s winning formula? This paper discusses the factors which have led to the NF’s overwhelming victory against a setback of Malaysia’s frayed political culture augmented by its various ethnic groups and societal values. Why has this multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society picked the NF above other political parties? A special focus is given to the sparkling performance of the NF in the recently concluded elections, which saw the defeat of Alternative Front (AF). Having made inroads into the country during the 1999 elections by posing an ideological confrontation, AF effort to end the coalition’s hegemony failed given its poor performance in the last elections. The party failed badly to achieve a consistent change in the society’s acceptance of AF. Using the winning formula as a basis of its study, this paper will give an insight into how the NF can maintain its role as a credible government administrator since its inception in the first 1959 post-independence elections.

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