The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms & Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Malaysia gets ready to ride out the storm

Malaysia’s hopes of political and economic reform proved short-lived. The appointment of a new prime minister means the discredited political party UMNO is back in the driving seat.


Malaysia has squandered the chance for genuine reform and appears to be heading back to the future, politically and economically. No wonder the fourth-largest economy in southeast Asia has endured a decade of missed opportunities.

The appointment of Ismail Sabri Yaakob as prime minister – the fourth in a mere 40 months – in the middle of August means that his United Malays National Organization (or UMNO) party, which was discredited because of high-level corruption and eventually ousted in 2018, is now back in power.

What does this augur for Malaysia, particularly at a time when it is struggling to cope with the health and economic consequences of the pandemic?

An ill-timed increase in corruption and government dysfunction, warns Alex Holmes, emerging-Asia specialist at Capital Economics.

“Having an unreformed UMNO back at the centre of power hardly bodes well for the future”, he says.

For Malaysia, adds analyst Adib Zalkapli at Bower Group Asia, “it’s basically the status quo”. It’s also a bad look, Adib notes, that the political empire that “engineered the collapse of the previous government” is “reaping the rewards” by returning to power.

You can expect Malaysian politics to continue to be unstable
Joseph Chinyong Liow, Nanyang Technological University.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree