Chandra explains Umno’s ‘disgraceful’ polls outing and what PAS, DAP gains show

The prominent thinker says all sides, including the federal coalition, are guilty of distortions, leading to the disappearance of the middle ground that once held power in the country.

(MalaysiaNow) – Prominent academic and social critic Chandra Muzaffar has described Umno’s latest electoral outing as a “dismal and disgraceful performance”, saying the declining trend for the party and voters’ rejection were obvious to everyone except the top leadership.

But he said while the issue of corruption plaguing the Umno leadership was the main reason, the outcome of the state polls also showed the disappearance of the middle ground that had once held the government.

Chandra said this was apparent in the gains made by PAS and DAP, adding that in the case of PAS, grievances such as rising living costs were expressed through identity politics.

“These socio-economic grievances found expression through an ethno-religious political party. This played itself out in the state elections. It was there in the 2022 general election, but it was most clearly manifested in this state election: corruption and the nexus between socio-economic grievances and identity politics,” said Chandra, who was one of those instrumental in the reformasi movement of the late 1990s and the formation of Parti Keadilan Nasional in 1999, the precursor to PKR.

DAP and the ‘second-class citizen’ narrative

Chandra said a similar factor explains DAP’s “huge triumph” in the state polls, where it won all but one of the total 47 seats it contested.

He said that since evolving from Singapore’s PAP, the party has always been the spokesman for non-Malay grievances.

“This is how it has mobilised its support, and it has played that card effectively in every election.”

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