The campaign for Malaysia’s May 5 election is now in its final week. In what is likely to be the closest result in the country’s history, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposition Peoples Alliance (PR) are pledging to lift the living standards of voters, while signalling to big business their willingness to impose austerity.
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)—the main BN partner—has controlled the government since independence in 1957, but could lose office. It has promised to increase annual cash payments to poor households, construct one million cheap homes and subsidise car prices. In the run-up to the election, it has already handed out bonuses for public servants and employees of state-owned enterprises, as well as pay increases for the military and police READ MORE