The pernicious effects of political polarisation and unresolved intra-coalition differences resulted in political party defections that contributed to the fall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and the tenuous position of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government that replaced it. Domestic politics through much of 2020 was marked by the subsequent power struggles both between the PH and PN coalitions and between PN coalition partners, Bersatu and UMNO. As the socio-economic pains of the COVID-19 pandemic prolonged, the trust deficit between the people and elected politicians widened. The turn of events in 2020 signalled an abrupt halt to the tentative steps Malaysia had been making to improve its democracy.
Keywords – political polarisation; political party defection; democratic backsliding; Malaysia.
Saleena Saleem | University of Liverpool | firstname.lastname@example.org