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Malaysia’s New Government Survives Tough First Year

BANGKOK: One year ago Friday , Mahathir Mohamad began to take the oath of office as Malaysia’s new prime minister and also assumed the helm of a government from under the thumb of the Barisan Nasional coalition initially since its independence from Britain in 1957.

In a traditional election the day before , his coalition Pakatan Harapan or the Alliance of Hope tapped growing disaffection with a ruling elite increasingly mired in corruption allegations to take off a win that shocked even itself .

In November , the government backtracked on a pledge to ratify a U.N conference against racial discrimination amid backlash from ethnic Malays who worried it could get in the way of their state-mandated privileges .

Dealing with similar pressure , Mahathir announced in April that Malaysia would not be joining the International Criminal Court , to which the previous government had tentatively signed on .

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