Indonesian media and observers are watching Malaysia’s GE15 closely

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JAKARTA: Political developments, including the 15th general election (GE15), are monitored and widely reported by Indonesian media.

Their GE15 reports include possible outcomes and commentary on how the election would shape Malaysia’s new government, the country’s future as well as its leadership role in the region.

Indonesian media is well aware of political instability and the succession of three prime ministers in Malaysia since GE14 in 2018.

Harian Haluan, West Sumatra’s oldest newspaper, in an article titled “Ahead of Malaysian Elections, Four-Corner Struggle for Malaysian Vote,” said the November 19 voting result would be very interesting.

The four coalitions, Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan, Perikatan Nasional and Gerakan Tanah Air, are all poised to win over the Malays with Bumiputra voters from Sabah and Sarawak in the majority, representing 65% of the total population.

However, it was going to be difficult for a coalition to get a majority to form a government as the Malaysian parties are divided.

The Jakarta Post noted that Malaysia’s too-frequent leadership changes mimicked Australia, which has changed guards too often.

Its editor Kornelius Purba, in his opinion piece, also compared the situation with Indonesia which saw a rapid change in national leadership following the fall of Suharto in May 1998.

The country saw three presidents in a short time between 1998 and 2001, BJ Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) and Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Referring to Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s performance during his brief tenure, he said, the Malaysian prime minister has recorded substantial achievements, especially in foreign policy.

Above all, Kornelius said that for the 10 ASEAN members, including Indonesia, a politically stable and economically prosperous Malaysia would contribute to the progress of the regional grouping.

“Regardless of its competition with Indonesia in playing a primus inter pares role in ASEAN, Malaysia is playing a constructive role that earns it notoriety in the region,” he wrote.

He considered Malaysia to be one of the most amazing members of Asean, especially for its incredible achievements in attracting highly sophisticated technological investments, its development of the education and health sector and its robust agricultural sector, especially its oil palm plantation industry.

For decades, prosperous Malaysia has become the destination for millions of Indonesian job seekers, he said.

He hopes the Malaysian people will vote for the best of the nation because ASEAN needs a democratic and progressive Malaysia, Kornelius added.

The Nusantara Media Development Association is keen to see more female candidates and hope for gender equality in political parties in the region.

“Despite strong and popular female politicians in Malaysia, women are still severely underrepresented to be selected as candidates to run for parliamentary seat,” the association noted in an analysis posted on the Datatalk.asia website.

He pointed out that women were more successful in winning seats for the main political parties in the GE14, but only 31 women, or 13%, ended up being elected to parliament.

Meanwhile, Sophie Lemière, adjunct fellow (non-resident) in the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, said the days and weeks ahead will reveal more schemes and of surprises.

“The political energy is directed towards intense politics, while the debates and new ideas for the direction of the country have yet to emerge,” she wrote in the CSIS blog. — Bernama

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