PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s change of government at the recent general election is unlikely to have a spillover effect on neighbouring countries, according to a policy expert.
Ali Salman, head of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, said: “I don’t see any direct impact that the elections in Malaysia would have on the politics in other countries in the region as all Asean countries are following their own unique historical patterns of democratic development.”
He disagreed with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s recent remarks that the election results might have an impact on Singapore, where the ruling People’s Action Party has been in power since 1959.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Mahathir was quoted as saying: “I think the people of Singapore, like the people in Malaysia, must be tired of having the same government, the same party since independence.”
However, Ali remained sceptical. Compared to other Asean countries, Singapore had a higher resemblance to Malaysia especially in political terms, but crucial differences that made it unlikely that Singapore would follow the same political path.
“I think the opposition in Singapore is much weaker than it is here, and then economic conditions in Singapore are pretty good and they have high wages. This does not provide too much for Singapore’s opposition to work on.”
Political pundits have surmised that Malaysia’s last election was largely won from campaigning on the rising cost of living, stagnant salaries and a faltering economy under former prime minister Najib Razak.
In the 2015 Singapore general election the PAP won 83 of the 89 constituency elected seats in the Singapore Parliament, with 69.86% of total votes cast.
The second largest political party in terms of representation is the centre-left Workers’ Party, which won the other six seats.