The Najib government continued to consolidate its political hold on Malaysia in 2017. Various factors, including a moderately improved economic situation and a relatively generous 2018 budget, suggested that it had good prospects for winning the next election, to be held at the latest in August 2018. Beyond party politics, however, there were indications of deep change taking place in Malaysian society—deep enough to raise questions about the nation’s identity.
In 2016 Prime Minister Najib overcame challenges that many predicted would destroy him. The crisis, however, has helped to deepen many of the fault lines in Malaysian politics and society, and to promote public apprehension. Much will now depend on the resilience of the country’s institutions and economy.