To escape from a crocodile’s mouth to fall into a tiger’s one

Couverture Asie du Sud-Est 2021David DELFOLIE

An unprecedented political crisis, due to irreconcilable positions on Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's succession deal, prematurely ended the Malaysian democratic transition led by the Alliance of Hope cabinet (Pakatan Harapan). A conservative government, headed by veteran politician Muhyiddin Yassin, seized power with the support of a slim reshuffled majority, based on the new National Alliance (Perikatan Nasional). The Federation was then harshly hit by the turbulence of the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused significant socio-economic consequences. Marked by difficulty and regression, the year 2020 in Malaysia can be summed up quite well by the Malay proverb “to escape from a crocodile’s mouth to fall into a tiger’s one” (terlepas dari mulut buaya, masuk ke mulut harimau). However, in this gloomy situation, more nuanced elements can be highlighted, in particular in the field of external relations.

Keywords: Malaysia; PH government collapse; pandemic; democratic transition; National Alliance.