Infighting

Infighting

[in-fahy-ting]

This article is on political infighting. For the martial arts skills used in close proximity to the opponent see Infighting (martial arts).

Infighting is a term normally used in political parties and sometimes in religious organizations to describe dissenters from a hegemony.

Case study

Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy based on the United Kingdom's Westminster System, and has been ruled since its independence in 1957 by the Barisan Nasional coalition, which is dominated by the United Malays National Organisation.

Various political dissenters have formed their own parties for various reasons, such as the Islamist PAS, the Socialist Democratic Action Party (DAP), the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People's Justice Party or PKR), the Malaysia Democratic Party (MDP), Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), and Sarawak National Party (SNAP). These political dissenters are called opposition political parties.

The first example of infighting is the founding of PAS, which came about due to infighting between radical Islamists and moderate Muslims within UMNO. These radical Islamists later founded PAS to challenge UMNO and the Barisan Nasional.

The second example would be the founding of PKR by supporters of Anwar Ibrahim, who was viewed as a shoe-in to succeed Mahathir bin Mohammad as Prime Minister of Malaysia. However, while Mahathir was away during the 1997 financial crisis, Anwar implemented austerity reforms demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Mahathir then sacked Anwar for going against his policies, prompting Anwar to lead a Reformasi movement against the government. Anwar was later jailed, but his supporters from his time in UMNO broke away to form Keadilan, which later became PKR; the break resulted from infighting.

The third example would be the founding of the Malaysia Democratic Party (MDP), which broke away from the DAP due to disagreement over the party leadership; the result of the infighting was two weakened parties, as the DAP lost the support of its former members, while the MDP no longer could co-operate with the DAP in political campaigning; in the 2004 general election, it fielded only one candidate for a seat in parliament, who lost the election.

The final example of infighting is SNAP, which left the Barisan Nasional over a disagreement concerning the holding of parliamentary seats. SNAP blamed the Barisan Nasional for giving the Muslim-led PBB too much seats and the Christian-led SNAP too little seats.

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