Indonesia’s media and observers follow closely Malaysia’s GE15
JAKARTA,. Indonesia’s media outlets and observers are closely watching Malaysia’s 15th General Election (GE15), providing details of the upcoming election and commentaries since the dissolution of Parliament announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Oct 10.
The media reports on GE-15 include the possible outcome and the hope that the election will clear the path for a new and stable government to shape the country’s future and regain its leadership role in the regional landscape.
The Indonesian media is well aware of the political instability and the succession of three prime ministers in Malaysia since 14th General Election (GE14) in 2018.
West Sumatra’s oldest newspaper, Harian Haluan journalist in an article, “Ahead of the Malaysian Election, the Four Cornered Fight for the Malay Vote”, said it is very interesting to follow the GE15 vote on Nov 19.
The four coalitions, Barisan Nasional (BN), Pakatan Harapan (PH), Perikatan Nasional (PN), Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) are all out to win over Malay, and Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak voters who are the majority, accounting for 65 per cent of the total population.
However, it is going to be difficult for a coalition to win a majority to form a government because the Malay parties are divided.
The Jakarta Post noted that due to the change of guard too often, Malaysia may emulate Australia, which has seen a change of guard too often, according to one of Indonesia’s most influential newspapers, .
Its senior editor Kornelius Purba in his opinion piece compared the situation with Indonesia which experienced a rapid change of national leadership in the aftermath of Soeharto’s fall from grace in May 1998.
The country saw three presidents in a short span between 1998 and 2001, B.J. Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) and Megawati Soekarnoputri.
Touching on Ismail Sabri’s performance during his brief tenure, he said, the Malaysian prime minister has recorded substantial achievements especially in foreign policy.
His unwavering support for the ASEAN campaign against Myanmar’s junta leader, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, is very important in unifying the regional grouping vis-a-vis interferences of major powers.
Above all, Kornelius said for the 10-member ASEAN, including Indonesia, a politically stable and economically prosperous Malaysia will contribute to the progress of the regional grouping.
“Regardless of its competition with Indonesia in playing a primus inter pares role in ASEAN, Malaysia plays a constructive role that earns the country prominence in the region,” he wrote.
He viewed Malaysia as one of the most amazing members of ASEAN, especially for its incredible achievements in attracting highly sophisticated technology investment, its educational and health sector development and its robust agricultural sector, especially its oil palm plantation industry.
For decades, prosperous Malaysia has become the destination of millions of Indonesian job seekers, he said.
He hoped that the Malaysian people will cast their ballots for the best of the nation as ASEAN needs a democratic and progressive Malaysia, Kornelius added.
Nusantara Media Development Association has a strong interest in seeing more women candidates and hoping for gender equality in political parties across the region.
“Despite strong popular women politicians in Malaysia, women are still severely underrepresented for being selected as candidates to run for parliamentary seat,” the association noted in an analysis published at Datatalk.asia’s website.
It pointed out that women did better in winning seats for major political parties in GE14, but only 31 women or 13 per cent ended up being elected to parliament.
Meanwhile, Sophie Lemiere, an adjunct fellow (non-resident) with the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, said the days and weeks to come will reveal more schemes and surprises.
“Political energy is geared towards intense politicking, while debates and fresh ideas for the country’s direction have yet to emerge,” she wrote in the CSIS blog post.