In May 2018 Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad was sworn in as the world’s oldest prime minister as the head of the Pakatan Harapan, or Alliance of Hope, which electorally ousted the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, in office for six decades since independence from Britain.
Many human rights activists and democrats across Southeast Asia rejoiced in and were inspired by the victory of Malaysian democratic movement which drew on a diverse coalition of ethnic and religious communities. Fast-forward to October 2020.
The democratic euphoria around Malaysia is no more. Today the shaky government of Muhyiddin Yassin is hanging onto power by the skin of its teeth. Thailand is rocked by sustained protests for reform by the youth. With Myanmar being in the dock at the International Court of Justice, Aung San Suu Kyi’s re-elections no longer inspires or excites the region’s human rights and dissident communities.
The British-trained international law scholar, politician and humanitarian Tan Sri Dr Syed Hamid Albar with decades of experience in government and international politics will share his thoughts on Malaysia’s stalled democratization and the state of democratization in the region.