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Racial divisions of Malaysia's politics harm whole country

Parties should not play off races against each other

| Malaysia
Indian cleric Zakir Naik, pictured on Sep. 7, provoked tensions.   © Reuters

Instead of celebrating Malaysia's independence day on August 31 with gusto and optimism, citizens observed it with disquiet and bitterness. The honeymoon period for Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope), Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's ruling coalition, is over, with his approval rating dipping and nearly half of those surveyed in an opinion poll saying the country was heading in the wrong direction.

While stunted reforms and elite infighting have turned off many voters, it has also been the continuing entrenchment of racially divisive politics in the diverse country which has infuriated many.

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