The Defeat of Barisan Nasional: Missed Signs or Late Surge?

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Wu Ling Chong


The Defeat of Barisan Nasional: Missed Signs or Late Surge edited by Francis E. Hutchinson and Lee Hwok Aun is a welcome addition to the scholarly literature on Malaysia’s 2018 general election that led to the first regime change in the country. The Barisan Nasional (BN, National Front), which was the political coalition that had ruled the country for 61 years, was unexpectedly defeated by the Pakatan Harapan (PH, Alliance of Hope) opposition coalition led by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. Although the PH government only lasted for 22 months before it collapsed due to defection of 37 parliamentarians and the resignation of the then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (Ahmad & Koya, 2020), it is still crucial to understand the factors behind the defeat of BN and the victory of PH in the election. Only then can we make better sense of the collapse of the PH government.


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