MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME
About the Seminar
The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) holds power in Malaysia through a tenuous pact with Perikatan Nasional. With a razor-thin parliament majority, the government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Pakatan Harapan opposition.
This unique arrangement has emerged from power struggles within UMNO, most consequentially between party president Zahid Hamidi and Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Ismail Sabri is the party’s third-highest office holder but holds the keys to dissolving parliament and triggering the next general election. Zahid, on the other hand, holds the levers within the party. UMNO enjoys popular momentum, buoyed by emphatic wins for the Barisan Nasional coalition at the Melaka and Johor state elections. Nonetheless, it continues to face competition for the Malay vote. Its vast membership and well-oiled machinery confer advantages, but beyond rallying the base, the party also needs to expand its appeal. Outreach to young and automatically registered voters, in particular, call for policy agendas beyond identity politics.
At this seminar, senior political figure and outspoken UMNO leader Nazri Aziz will address a range of pressing issues. What is the balance of power between Zahid and Ismail, and how will Ismail negotiate his way forward? How will UMNO respond to the Perikatan Nasional challenge that the latter defends Malay interest minus the corruption? How has UMNO’s base responded to the MoU and coalition-building, and how is the party seeking to appeal to new voters?
This seminar is supported by Temasek Foundation as part of the Malaysia in Focus series.
About the Speaker
Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz is the Member of Parliament for Padang Rengas, Perak, a seat he has held since 2004. He was first elected to parliament in 1995.