Making Sense of the 2022 General Elections in Malaysia


On 9 November 2022, Malaysia held its 15th General Elections. These elections took place within an unprecedentedly open and fragmented political landscape. Instead of the usual two main coalitions contending as frontrunners, Malaysia now has three main coalitions: Barisan Nasional (BN), Pakatan Harapan (PH), and Perikatan Nasional (PN). Not one of these coalitions won enough seats to form government, and it was only after much jockeying around that Pakatan Harapan, led by Anwar Ibrahim, was able to cobble together enough support to form the so-called unity government.

Joining Dr Natali Pearson on SSEAC Stories, Dr Azmil Tayeb unpacks Malaysia’s recent elections and its evershifting political landscape, discussing the return of ethnoreligious political parties, the future of coalition politics and the unexpected voting patterns of young Malaysian voters.

About Azmil Tayeb:

Dr Azmil Tayeb is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang. He has done extensive research on political Islam, social movements and local government politics, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia. He is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore and an Adjunct Professor at Universitas Negeri Malang in East Java, Indonesia. He is the author of Islamic Education in Indonesia and Malaysia: Shaping Minds, Saving Souls (Routledge, 2018). He is also the co-editor of a forthcoming book by Routledge titled Education and Power in Contemporary Southeast Asia.

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Natali Pearson

Dr Natali Pearson is Curriculum Coordinator at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, a university-wide multidisciplinary center at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on the protection, management and interpretation of underwater cultural heritage in Southeast Asia.

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