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Malaysia's UMNO chaos clouds future of Anwar's fragile coalition

Once-formidable party may lose more Malay support after purge of leaders

Retaining Malay support turned to be one of Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's top priorities. (Photo by NurPhoto via Getty Images)

KUALA LUMPUR -- Strife within the once-formidable United Malays National Organization (UMNO) -- a party joining Malaysia's ruling coalition -- is now becoming an unsettling factor in the fledgling government of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

UMNO, which suffered huge losses in November's general election and chose to join the ruling camp, is expected to lose support from Malay voters after the party sacked and suspended senior leaders last month. Since Anwar's government relies on UMNO to form a legislative majority, further erosion of its support base could potentially destabilize the government.

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