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Barisan Nasional Political Dominance and the General Elections of 2004 in Malaysia


  • Julian C. H. Lee


This paper examines how the Barisan Nasional (National Front, BN) coalition has held power in Malaysia since that country s independence in 1957. The first of two perspectives taken in this examination looks at the practical impediments to opposition party participation during general elections. This is refracted through the prism of the campaign during the 2004 general elections of a Parti KeADILan Rakyat candidate. The second perspective looks at the broader cultural environment in which elections occur in Malaysia. In particular, the BN plays upon popular fears of a recurrence of ethnic violence that occurred in 1969 when opposition parties polled strongly to portray itself as the keeper of the country s peace. The examination of both practical mechanisms and the cultural environment allow a more complete understanding of how the BN maintains its political dominance in Malaysia.

Suggested Citation

  • Julian C. H. Lee, 2007. "Barisan Nasional Political Dominance and the General Elections of 2004 in Malaysia," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 26(2), pages 39-66.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:15:y:2007:i:2:p:39-66

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