GE14 gets the Economist treatment this week. I’m a big fan of the Economist’s style when it clearly thinks something stinks, but while it’s fun to read there’s not much fresh news here for even casual watchers. It does include a primer on gerrymandering which is a handy resource, as well as the extent of the corruption with 1MDB.
Pakatan Harapan launched its election manifesto yesterday with a few major takeaways. Firstly, setting a limit on prime minister terms to just two terms. This is weird to me, it seems an easy one to smash PH and leader Mahathir Mohamad on. His extraordinarily long reign as PM from the 1980s into the 2000s makes it a little hard to believe that now he has changed his view based on anything other than wanting to win. Secondly, he is old. Everyone is very polite about but he is very, very old. With the eligibility of Anwar Ibrahim to serve after being released from prison still in the air, focusing on term limits highlights how extraordinarily fragile the succession plan really is.
Secondly, PH is keen to scrap the 6 percent GST with ‘a sales and services tax “that is more fair and not burdensome to the people and businessmen,” according to Bloomberg. Okay, but what does that actually mean? Not sure yet. Mahathir has talked about GST reform a lot in recent months, but it seems like the meat of the policy is being kept close to the chest for the time being.
There are a few other things in there that I think personally is great and really speak for themselves: specifically relaunching an investigation into 1MDB, raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 years-old, an ambitious goal of improving Malaysia’s ranking on the Transparency Index and resolving long-running issues with stateless Indians alongside quotas for ethnically Indian employees.
That’s a lot today, so I’ll just wedge this must-read in here at the end: Will Malaysia’s Islamization Change Course?