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Reader riposte: Race in the Malaysian election

Reader riposte: Race in the Malaysian election
Published 17 Apr 2013 

Chris Williams writes:

Liam Hanlon's article usefully highlights Malaysia's fiscal risks in the runup to its election. A common oversight, however, is to mention UMNO and BN almost in the same breath when referring to the affirmative action/racial preference of the main contending parties. As most of your readers would be aware, UMNO has run with a bumiputera 'sons of the earth' policy for a long period. However, UMNO is only one party in the Barisan National governing coalition, usually also comprised of Chinese and Indian minority parties.

This is not unlike the coalition approach of Amwar Ibrahim. The difference is largely down to the strength of minority party voices in the coalitions, and the nuances over indigenous Malay policies that are tempered in coalition. Close election outcomes usually allow the minority parties in coalition to have a stronger voice.

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