Rumored Government Opposition Meetings in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
At the beginning of the new year, Malaysian social media as well as the general political dialogue were inundated with speculation on the “Dubai Move.” This alleged meeting took place between vacationing opposition officials from the conservative-based Perikatan Nasional bloc in December 2023 in the UAE’s largest city. This is the latest occurrence in a trend of political upheavals that have seen the dissolution of fledgling coalitions in Malaysia in the dynamic years since the United Malays National Organisation’s effective loss of one-party dominance in 2018.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and his unity government have been on the receiving end of accusations of political persecution by rivals who feel targeted by the administration’s ongoing anti-graft campaign. These opponents appealed to parliament members to defect and lobbied the outgoing king to invoke special powers in picking a new prime minister before the end of his royal term on January 31.
Given withstanding two-thirds majority support for Anwar in Parliament and statements from both the current and incoming kings in Malaysia’s rotational monarchy that political stability will be their priority, the unity government should seemingly continue through the new year relatively unphased. Yet a general public that is more swayed by economic performance and ethno-religious tensions than power games will ultimately be the ones to answer for how Anwar’s administration will be perceived and how the country global competitiveness moving forward.