malaysian government


Malaysian politics have always been defined by stability. From its previous incarnation as Parti Perikatan (Alliance Party) to its current form born in 1973, Barisan Nasional (National Front) has always been the federal ruling force in Malaysia’s history.

But the 13th general election, which will happen sometime before April 2013, may well see that end.

Part of why Barisan has never lost ruling power is Perikatan’s legacy of gaining then-Malaya’s independence from British rule and, subsequently, the formation of Malaysia as we know it today.

When Malayan Union was formed in 1946, United Malays National Organization (UMNO) — the leading party in Perikatan and Barisan today — led protests against the compromise of Malay rulers’ powers and the position of Malays, eventually contributing to the Union’s dissolution.

After a landslide victory in 1954 state elections, it was Perikatan politicians who went to London seeking Malaya’s independence. For many, Perikatan and subsequently Barisan has been the champion of the people.

Another part is the absence of organized opposition. Until recent times, political parties not part of its great coalition acted individually during national polls. Without a systematic opposition, Barisan continues its predecessor Perikatan’s image as the people’s champion, with its historical contributions augmented by every good thing done as the ruling government.

Indeed, doing good things for a government of a developing nation. Its different component parties cater to different races in the populace; in a political scene intertwined with racial issues, having something for everyone is Barisan’s key to power.