SEMENYIH, Malaysia: Across Malaysia the hashtag #Kerajaangagal (failed government) is trending.
Malaysia is not alone in grappling with a debilitating pandemic. Yet what makes this crisis different is how it is playing out politically.
Malaysia is arguably experiencing its largest broad crisis since the 1969 racial riots. Then the riots were elite driven, but the policies in their wake fundamentally transformed Malaysia.
The same could be said of the aftermath of the 1997 to 1999 Asian financial crisis which provoked an elite struggle that gave birth to the Reformasi movement.
The government’s handling of COVID-19 has evoked unprecedented social reaction and, in the government’s failings, transformed political narratives and mobilisation.