Anwar Must Not Waste Malaysia’s Chance for Democratic Reforms

“The new Malaysian government led by reform champion Anwar Ibrahim will face a series of obstacles as the Pakatan Harapan coalition returns to power in Kuala Lumpur two years after the abrupt end of its first federal administration.

“The surprising move by Pakatan Harapan (PH) to forge a unity government with historic rival Barisan National followed a nail-biting general election and dramatic coalition negotiations last month.

“But in addition to restive coalition partners, a formidable opposition, a battered economy and a weakened currency, PH has an ambitious agenda to realize, including expectations for badly needed political reforms carried over from its brief first administration.

“Despite these challenges, Malaysia’s democratic activists have reason for optimism from this second chance to achieve long-sought democratic reforms.

“Thanks to timely strategic assistance from the U.S. and international community, Malaysian civil society has undertaken a series of efforts to advance sensible anti-corruption, electoral and institutional reforms with government allies to strengthen democratic processes. This has seen important programs initiated to better engage women, youth and indigenous peoples in political processes, a key ingredient for inclusive governance. …”

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