Malaysia after Mahathir: Uncertain Prospects, A Presentation by BARRY WAIN, Writer-in-Residence, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
A Presentation by Barry Wain, Writer-in-Residence, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
In his first year in office, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is struggling to arrest the long-term decline in the popularity of his United Malays National Organization (UMNO), lynchpin of the ruling National Front coalition. His promises to reform UMNO, reduce corruption, and build an inclusive nation have made limited headway. One reason is that Najib is the product of a pervasive system of patronage that solidified and deepened under former premier, Mahathir Mohamad.
What is Dr. Mahathir's legacy? Does he continue to wield great influence? Is Najib merely a lame duck prime minister? What political baggage does he carry and how does it impact on his leadership? How big a threat is the opposition led by former finance minister, Anwar Ibrahim?
Barry Wain is Writer-in-Residence at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. A former Editor of the the Asian Wall Street Journal, he has lived in Asia for 38 years, working as a journalist, columnist, and news executive in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. He is the author of Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times, published last month, and The Refused: The Agony of the Indochina Refugees, a study of the post-Vietnam War exodus from Indochina. Book sale after the program.