Malaysia's 14th General Election and UMNO’s Fall: Intra-Elite Feuding in the Pursuit of Power, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Malaysia's 14th General Election and UMNO’s Fall

Intra-Elite Feuding in the Pursuit of Power, 1st Edition

Edited by Edmund Terence Gomez, Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman


298 pages

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pub: 2019-10-18
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The 2018 Malaysian General Election will stand as a major defining event in Malaysian history, when the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition unexpectedly lost power in the country they had ruled for over half a century. This volume brings together scholars who assess one fundamental factor that brought about this game-changing event in Malaysian politics: intra-elite feuding in the leading Malay-based political parties. This study provides an analysis of individual state politics as well as national trends shaped by the actions of leaders in government and the opposition.

An indispensable guide for scholars studying the politics of Malaysia and of Southeast Asia more broadly, it will be of great interest for all readers with an interest in Malaysian politics.


"This excellent volume offers a comprehensive account of Malaysia's 14th General Election, underpinned by insightful case studies that grapple with the puzzle of the defeat of a well-funded ruling coalition that had never lost an election run on an uneven electoral authoritarian playing field. In explaining this ‘stunning election’ amidst ‘elite contestations,’ the book’s contributors offer insightful theoretically-informed thematic analyses and fine-grained studies of voting trends. The book emphasizes how intra-elite Malay feuding undermined once cohesive patronage politics, strengthened the opposition through defections, and helped forge an alternative coalition that ran on a ‘cash is king’ slogan that targeted the regime’s kleptocracy." Mark R. Thompson, Professor of Politics, Southeast Asia Research Centre (SEARC) City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR

"The surprise toppling of the Barisan Nasional government in May 2018 after more than 60 years in power will go down in history as one of Malaysia’s monumental events. Based on extensive field research before, during, and after the election, this collection of essays focuses its analysis on the dynamics as they unfolded within the Malay political leadership in the local, state, and national level. A must read for all who seek not only to understand what happened on 9 May 2018 and why it happened, but also its consequences for our understanding of trends and trajectories of Malay politics in Malaysia." Joseph Chinyong Liow, Tan Kah Kee Chair Professor and Dean of College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Table of Contents

List of Tables; List of Figures; List of Contributors; Preface; Acknowledgements; List of Abbreviations; Introduction: Malaysia’s 14th General Election and UMNO’s Fall: Intra-Elite Feuding and the Pursuit of Power (Edmund Terence Gomez and Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman); 1: Democratization in an Age of Authoritarianism: Theorizing Malaysia’s GE14 (William Case); 2: Elite Contestations, Politics of Reform and New Voting Dynamics of Peninsular States in GE14 (Johan Saravanamuttu); 3: Elite Feuds, Patronage and Factions: UMNO’s demise (Sri Murniati); 4: Electoral boundaries in Malaysia’s 2018 Election: Malapportionment, Gerrymandering and UMNO’s Fall (Kai Ostwald); 5: ‘10 Years Under Pakatan is Better Than 50 Years Under UMNO/BN’: Pre-Electoral Conflict and Campaign Rhetoric in Selangor (Elvin Ong); 6: A Tale of Intra-Malay Elite Feuds in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya (Prashant Waikar); 7: Gambling on Grievances: Melaka in GE14 and After (Amalina Anuar and Chan Xin Ying); 8: Bangsa Johor: Factions, Feuds and Fall of UMNO (Rashaad Ali); 9: Penang: Victory by Support or Defeat by Chance? (Chan Xin Ying); 10: The Battle for Perak (Iskandar Dzulkarnain Ahmad Junid); 11: Parties versus Personalities in Kedah Politics: Unstable and Hung State Assembly in Kedah’s GE14 (Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani); 12: The Green Tsunami in Terengganu: The Re-Emergence of Parti Islamse-Malaysia (Wan Rohilla Ganti); 13: Intra-Islamist Elite Competition in Kelantan (Najwa Abdullah); Bibliography; Index

About the Editors

Edmund Terence Gomez is Professor of Political Economy at the Faculty of Economics & Administration, University of Malaya, Malaysia.

Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman is Assistant Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

About the Series

Routledge Malaysian Studies Series

The Routledge Malaysian Studies Series publishes high quality scholarship that provides important new contributions to knowledge on Malaysia. It also signals research that spans comparative studies, involving the Malaysian experience with that of other nations.

This series, initiated by the Malaysian Social Science Association (MSSA) to promote study of contemporary and historical issues in Malaysia, and designed to respond to the growing need to publish important research, also serves as a forum for debate on key issues in Malaysian society. As an academic series, it will be used to generate new theoretical debates in the social sciences and on processes of change in this society.

The Series covers a broad range of subjects including history, politics, economics, sociology, international relations, geography, business, education, religion, literature, culture and ethnicity. The series will encourage work adopting an interdisciplinary approach.

New proposals for the series are welcomed.  Prospective authors should in the first instance contact the series editors, whose email addresses are: [email protected][email protected]; and [email protected]


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies