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Malaysia's 'leaderless' protests spark political awakening

Decentralized movements can thwart government efforts to suppress them

| Malaysia
Demonstrator bring mock corpses to symbolize the high number of daily deaths from COVID-19 in Kuala Lumpur on July 31: the Lawan protest pursues a leaderless strategy.    © LightRocket/Getty Images

Benjamin Loh is a senior lecturer in the School of Media and Communication at Taylor's University Malaysia and an associate with the Asia Center in Bangkok.

Fresh turmoil in Malaysia triggered by the resignation of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Aug. 16 has deepened public criticism of politicians' antics and fueled calls for reform of traditional backroom politics. More important, it has put the spotlight on the rise of leaderless protest movements that have the potential to change the dynamics of Malaysia's failed political system.

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