Portraits of Malaysian Voters by Dr Bridget Welsh

Date:  Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Time:  8.00 pm
Place:  Level 4, Syuen Hotel, Ipoh
Attire: Smart Casual
@ RM45/- per person (inclusive of dinner)


As Malaysia continues in its perpetual campaign mode, attention remains riveted on the upcoming competitive 13th General Elections. Focus centers on the elites, their strategies and the electoral playing field. What is left out of the equation are changing developments among voters. Why do Malaysians vote as they do? How does voting behavior differ among Malaysians and why? What are the main cleavages and how are they changing? What do these differences mean for the changing landscape of Malaysian politics and, importantly, the next General Election ? Drawing from extensive fieldwork observing elections in Malaysia as well as survey research over time, the discussion delves into the diverse milieu of Malaysian voters and the evolving trends in voting behavior. Dr Welsh illustrates that the older modes of analysis centering on ethnicity, class and geography no longer have the same resonance and explanatory power, as religion, ideology and social identity have emerged as important markers. Malaysian voting behavior has changed considerably, in line with the vibrant and evolving political landscape.


Dr Bridget Welsh is an Associate Professor with the School of Social Sciences at Singapore Management University, Singapore.

She obtained a BA from Colgate University, New York in 1988 and attended a FALCON Indonesian Language Programme at Cornell University in 1990. She studied at Columbia University, New York for her Masters in Political Science (1991) and Philosophy (1995) and a doctorate in Political Science (2001).

Her research areas include comparative politics, Southeast Asian politics, international relations and gender politics. She writes regularly on political developments in Southeast Asia for local, regional and international publications and new agencies.