I have been absolutely blown away these last few days watching Malaysians on Twitter come together to find ways to crowdfund people to return home to vote, share information to ensure voters know their rights, particularly with employers, and mobilise disengaged friends and family. I think it makes a very clear case to not just Barisan Nasional but to all Malaysian lawmakers (and would-be lawmakers) that the people WILL push back when they feel wronged. And, the millennials and younger generations are coming.
The demographic breakdowns of GE14 are fascinating to me. I’ve reported already on the place of young activists in the election, but the focus on race and now gender disparities provides some great insight. This numbers-heavy report shows that just over half of all voters are women which raises some interesting questions about the role of women candidates and internal party processes which are clearly, across the board, failing to promote women (not that that’s a uniquely Malaysian thing by any means!).
Bridget Welsh at New Mandala’s GE14-specific site has written on the ‘courtroom battles’ which have marked the past three years and threaten to fully undermine democracy. This piece looks at the challenges which have been launched by opposition parties, lawyers, activists and just ordinary people.
Mahathir Mohamad, fresh off the back of an awkward apology after dropping a racial slur, has warned this will be the dirtiest election in Malaysian history. “In the history of Malaysian elections, we don't have this kind of manipulation. Of course, the opposition invariably complains about the election but this time around it is so obvious that even members of the governing party... are very unhappy,” he told AFP.
The great disconnect between what is important to Malaysian voters and what issues enjoy the most coverage is fascinating. There are 1MDB and gerrymandering and fake news, but Malaysians have said over and over again it’s all about the economy. This from SCMP looks at how and why the GST and cost of living will come to dominate the next few weeks.
See you Tuesday!