Addressing Inequality in Malaysia

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As of this writing, general elections are imminent in Malaysia. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented political upheaval, these elections offer especially stark choices among normative frameworks and public policies. Malaysia was similarly poised in May 2018, when the political coalition Pakatan Harapan (Alliance for Hope) defeated the coalition that had been in power since independence, the communally (in other words, racially) structured Barisan Nasional (National Front). But the new government collapsed in February 2020, and two successor administrations have sustained only some of Pakatan Harapan’s initiatives — leaving some reforms unimplemented and the root issues behind the coalition’s rise largely unaddressed, especially corruption and fraught socioeconomic and political cleavages.


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