Special Issue Introduction: The 2018 Malaysian General Election: The Return of Mahathir and the Exit of UMNO

James Chin, Bridget Welsh


In coming years, 9 May will be regarded a watershed moment in Malaysia’s political history; on the same level as the 13 May 1969 race riots. After 61 years of uninterrupted rule by the Malayan Alliance, and its successor, Barisan Nasional (BN), the governing coalition dominated by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and led by Malaysia’s sixth prime minister Najib Tun Razak lost the 14th General Election. In a devastating defeat, BN lost its majority in the national parliament and only retained two of the 12 state governments contested. BN also recorded its lowest share of the popular vote, capturing only 33.8 per cent (a sharp drop of 13.6 per cent).

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