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Malaysia: Election 2013
17 May 2013,1100 - 1230 hrs

Venue: IPCS Conference Room
 
Keynote Address
Panelists: Amb. Veena Sikri and Aparupa Bhattacherjee

The discussion on Malaysia - Elections 2013 was opened by initial remarks from Dr. Suba Chandran. Aparupa Bhattacherjee statistically outlined the 2013 election results. A quantitative analysis on the shift to Barisan Nasional Party was given. The country’s political setup was described via the contending parties’ strengths and weaknesses. A comparative study was conducted between the recent elections and the 2008 ballot results. Although the total vote was higher for Pakatan Rakayat unlike for BN Party, the latter was the overall declared election winner. The shift in ethnic party affiliations was explained.

Thereafter, Amb. Veena Sikri delved into the issues behind Malaysian elections. She highlighted that the colonial legacy was the reason behind racial segregation in Malaysian community. The issues faced by various ethnic groups and ethnic parties, namely the Indians and Chinese were brought forward. These groups were said to have played a role in the election dynamics. Significance was laid on the inconsistencies between the actual electoral outcome and declared winners. The electoral process in Malaysia involves manoeuvring of vote banks including the army votes and non residential votes. While army votes are large in number, non residentials are permitted franchise rights and even transported from distant provinces.

Amb. Sikri expressed how the Najib presidency was weak, especially compared to Mahathirs. The occurrence of dynastic politics added to his party’s fragility. Regarding India-Malaysia ties, a good relationship was cited although it was said to have potential for higher engagement. This is in contrast to a stronger policy with ASEAN, with whom a strategic partnership was declared in 2012. Technology, infrastructure and free trade were suggested as areas for improving Indian and Malaysian collaboration.
 
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