Does Dr. Mahathir Mohamad think that Malaysians are generally uneducated The Malay dilemma in one sentence would be: How can the Malays get more. The Malay Dilemma by Mahathir Mohamad, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. The author is the new Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, a year-old physician, who wrote ”The Malay Dilemma” while he was in the.

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The Malay Dilemma

It would be a gross understatement indeed to say that Malaysian affairs have featured some gripping, and at times entertaining, political theater since Mahathir left office.

Suffice it to say that Mahathir has once again emerged as a serious potential kingmaker in the impending general elections in Malaysia. Having first propped up and then quite relentlessly undermined his understudy, Najib, the former prime minister is now poised to give him a serious run for the office in Putrajaya.

Of course these latter two parties and a fair number of its core leadership were systematically and some may say mercilessly suppressed by Mahathir during his time in office. Apart from needing to persist and endure the onslaught of UMNO and the state political machinery at its disposal, Mahathir and his newfound Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition are fully aware that their fortunes in the upcoming general elections depend very much on how the Malay electorate breaks.

To be sure, while a second opposition mohamwd made up of the Islamist PAS Malaysian Islamic Party may well complicate the political calculations in some local races, as there will likely be three-way contests in many constituencies, the present Malay political dilemma fundamentally renders the larger ethnic Malay body politic as rather deeply fractured yet profoundly consequential to determining the make-up of the next government.


The last general elections of not only bruised UMNO and its governing coalition Barisan Nasional by denying it the dilenma vote, it also signaled a dramatic shift in the non-Malay electorate.

The Malay Dilemma : Mahathir Mohamad :

Indeed, it was in large part due to the urban non-Malay ethnic electorate crossing over to the opposition in significant numbers that helped the DAP and the Pakatan Rakyat opposition parties to secure the popular vote. But given the nature of gerrymandering, where the majority of parliamentary seats remain in rural and demographically sparse Malay constituencies, UMNO and Barisan Nasional still managed to capture sufficient seats despite losing the popular vote.

To be sure, Mahathir and the Pakatan Harapan coalition cannot take the broad-based and largely non-rural Malay and non-Malay support for granted.

However, given the prevailing public discontent, continued intransigence, and the low popularity rating of Najib and his government, Mahathir, the DAP and PKR seem well situated to retain a significant share of backing from the urban-based electorate. Hence the big unknown this time around remains whether the return of Mahathir and despite some of the lingering negativity associated with his legacy will in fact be sufficient not only to not undermine the urban support that the opposition garnered inbut somehow enable them to make a breakthrough with rural Mallay voters.


In a highly racialized political and social system, the fact that the majority of rural Malay voters nationally have never before gambled with supporting mohamqd other coalition than the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional is significant. It now appears that the very architect of that ideology of Malay chauvinism will need to convince his brethren why they need to abandon the party that embraced and mastered his politics.

Malay Dilemma — Paperback / softback [Paperback]

Indeed, Mahathir will need to assure them that it is UMNO under Najib that has failed them, and that he has returned only because UMNO has strayed from securing and advancing their welfare.

By Sunil Kukreja January 31, 1: Must-reads from across Asia – directly to your inbox.

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Professor Kukreja has published widely in academic journals and edited several books. In addition, he is editor dilemma a book series titled Modern Southeast Asia, and serves as editor of the journal International Review of Modern Sociology.

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