March 8: Eclipsing May 13

March 8: Eclipsing May 13
Date of publication:  2008
Number of pages:  131
Code:  BM362


"This book is not only a good academic document but it also gives politicians and citizens alike some crucial input about this country's future political direction" (The Star Online).

"Written within months of the election, [this book] provides a blow-by-blow account of the campaign hustings and a careful dissection of voting patterns and outcomes in Penang, Kelantan and the Klang Valley which, together within the states of Perak and Kedah, were won by the opposition coalition. Beyond that, the chapters also ably discuss broader strategic currents behind the elections. The strength of the book lies in the assessments, provided by the three authors in their respective essays, of the factors behind BN's dismal performance. Their collective analysis takes on greater currency given Ooi's reminder that barely a year prior to the elections, 'the opposition had very little going for it'. The decision to focus their analysis on Penang, Kelantan and Klang Valley was, in hindsight, well-informed as it captures both the diversity of the Malaysian electorate as well as the unity of popular opposition to the ruling coalition" (The Sunday Times).

About the publication

For a whole generation of Malaysians, no proper closure to the traumas of the racial riots of May 13, 1969 has been possible. But then came March 8, 2008. The surprising results of the General Election on that special day have started eclipsing the fears linked for so long to that spectral night forty years ago.

All the three researchers from ISEAS who each authored separate chapters for this book were in different parts of Malaysia monitoring its 12th General Election during the thirteen days of campaigning. Their analyses provide new insights into the phenomenon that Malaysians now simply refer to as March 8.

Ooi Kee Beng scrutinizes in detail the electoral campaign in the state of Penang, Johan Saravanamuttu studies the case of Kelantan state and the elections in general, while Lee Hock Guan examines changes in the voting pattern in the Klang Valley.


  • March 8: Eclipsing May 13
    [Whole Publication, ISBN: 9789812308979]
  • Preliminary pages
  • 1. The Opposition's Year of Living Demonstratively, by Ooi Kee Beng, author
  • 2. A Tectonic Shift in Malaysian Politics, by Johan Saravanamuttu, author
  • 3. The Ethnic Voting Pattern for Kuala Lumpur and Selangor in 2008, by Lee Hock Guan, author
  • Postscript: Anwar's Path to Power goes via Permatang Pauh
  • Index

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