Dubai Move: A political analyst’s perspective

By Tengku Noor Shamsiah Tengku Abdullah


KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia is facing a new political crisis as rumours of a plot to topple the unity government led by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim have surfaced.

The alleged scheme, dubbed as the Dubai Move, involves some opposition leaders and disgruntled government MPs who met in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently to discuss the formation of a new coalition.

To get some insights into this development, TNS News interviewed Dr Oh Ei Sun, a Senior Fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

Dr Oh said that such political moves are not uncommon in Malaysia, as the government needs to secure a parliamentary majority to stay in power.

He said that the anti-hopping law, which prohibits MPs from switching parties, does not deter such attempts, as the government itself has welcomed opposition defectors in the past.

He also said that the opposition would not stop trying to overthrow the government, as they have the support of a large segment of voters who want a more conservative and Malay-centric administration.

He cited the example of the 2022 general election, which resulted in a hung parliament for the first time in Malaysian history, as a sign of the deep divisions and dilemmas in the country.

When asked if the government and the opposition should focus on rebuilding the economy and nation building instead of engaging in power struggles, Dr Oh said that it was unlikely, as the political incentives are too strong.

He said that many Malaysians do not want to see the country move forward or develop, as they associate that with becoming more liberal and pluralistic. He said that they would rather have a more regressive and insular country that preserves their perceived privileges and identity.

Oh’s views reflect the complex and volatile political landscape in Malaysia, which has seen three different prime ministers and two snap elections in the span of four years.

The Dubai Move, if true, could trigger another round of political instability and uncertainty, which could further hamper the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and social challenges.

  • TNS News

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