James Chin podcast: State elections and the future of Malaysia’s national politics

By James Chin, Professor, Asian Studies – University of Tasmania,
and Kean Wong, Editor, Rebirth: Reformasi, Resistance, and Hope in New Malaysia

This week’s state elections in Malaysia have big implications ahead of national polls expected in the next several months.

Malaysia’s Borneo state of Sarawak is expected to see the enduring dominance of the nativist GPS (Sarawak Parties Alliance) continue, with the recent passage of the so-called MA63 bills in federal parliament strengthening GPS’ parochial hold on power.

The Sarawak coalition has outsized influence in the precarious federal government helmed by scandal-ridden UMNO, back on top after two years of pandemic-fuelled political turmoil.

Amid talk of state secessionists and a federal government vulnerable to further Sarawak demands for autonomy and concessions, join two leading Malaysia experts, political scientist Prof. James Chin and journalist Kean Wong, in conversation as they explore the implications of this week’s state polls for Malaysian politics, and keeping a unified nation?

Listen now:

James Chin is Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Tasmania. He is also a Senior Fellow, Jeffrey Cheah Institute, Malaysia; and a Council Member, Australian Institute of International Affairs (Tasmania). He was previously Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore; Salzburg Global Freeman Fellow (US & Austria). Prof Chin is widely regarded as the leading scholar of politics in Sabah and Sarawak.

Kean Wong is a Malaysian journalist based in Australia who's worked in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Australia for various media including the BBC, the ABC, The Economist, The Australian Financial Review, The Sun of Malaysia, BFM, and in various books and festivals. He is the editor of the book Rebirth: Reformasi, resistance, and hope in new Malaysia (2020).

Banner image: Kuching City, Sarawak, Malaysia. Credit:BaniHasyim, Shutterstock.