Questions on two-party system

Does the uniqueness of Malaysia simply defy the logic of FPTP?

Wong Chin Huat, 

SINCE 2008, “two-party system” has become a defining phrase in Malaysia’s political discourse. Most opposition supporters desire it while most BN supporters dread it. 
Few have gone beyond the dichotomy of yes or no and asked if a two-party system would work for Malaysia or if it can be brought about by a change in government. 
(For ease of discussion, I will use the term “two-party system” throughout, rather than “two-coalition system” or “two-bloc system”, which may be more accurate but is also clumsier. In political science, if parties form permanent coalitions and do not compete against each other, then they are not too different from formalised factions within parties, hence, Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat can be seen as two parties.)
Why two-party system?
Vis-à-vis multiparty system, the two-party system is desired by many, including beyond Malaysia, for two reasons. 
First, its means single-party governments, which in turn means “responsible government”, as the single ruling party has to assume full responsibility for its performance. 
In contrast, if a coalition government fails, the partners can always blame each other. Even when a coalition government collapses, some parties with substantial seats may find their way to the next coalition government. And if the government lets the voters down in a two-party system, the voters get to “kick the rascals out” – party alternation is wholesale and complete.
Second, it encourages moderate moderation. Since there are only two parties, the winner has to win the middle ground. Therefore, to not alienate the centrist voters, the two parties are forced to take moderate positions and meet in the middle. 
The extremist members of the two parties cannot pull the parties to the flank, because they cannot pose an effective threat – supporting the other party is further against their interests.
In Malaysia, single-party government means political stability – ad-hoc coalition would likely see the partners bickering before the next election. And political stability in turn derives from moderation. 
A two-party system is seen as the ideal model because Malaysians – including both the opposition and civil society – have learned to believe in the virtue of the multi-ethnic permanent coalition model of the Alliance/BN. 
Hence, a substitute for the BN must not be better than it, but also somewhat looks like it.  
Despite or because of FPTP? 
Conventionally, following the propositions by French political scientist Maurice Duverger, the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system in Anglo-American democracies is thought to tend to produce two-party system, while the Two-Round System (TRS) in France or the Party List Proportional Representation in many other European countries tends to produce multi-party system.
We are then with the right electoral system since 1955. But why didn’t we see a more permanent two-party format until 2008? 
After being purged from Umno, both Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (then already in prison) united the Opposition parties for the 1990 and 1999 elections respectively. 
However, both the Gagasan Rakyat-Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah and Barisan Alternatif were effectively dead before their second elections.
How do we explain this? 
This happened despite FPTP or because of FPTP? 
The former implies that there is something wrong with our society while the latter implies that there is something wrong with the electoral system – at least it is incompatible with our society.

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