Taylor's FSLM Journals
Election and Ethnicity: a Comparative Analysis of Local Language Dailies and the Prevalence of Ethnic-Based Discourses during the 2008 Malaysian General Election

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

Azmyl Md Yusof


The major mainstream newspapers in Malaysia are owned and/or under the control of the parties of the ruling coalition government, the National Front (Barisan Nasional). The 12th Malaysian election saw the National Front losing its two-thirds majority hence weakening its hegemony over the Malaysian public sphere. The negotiations articulated in the mainstream media are good starting points to observe the ruling class’s presentation of ideas and justification of their dominance and leadership, notably in times of crisis. The concept of hegemony has been used to describe and analyse how modern capitalist societies were organised, or aimed to be organised, in the past and the present, and that hegemonic leadership involves developing intellectual, moral and philosophical consent from all major groups in a nation. It is important to contextualise the fact that the ruling coalition government is helmed by three ethnic-based political parties. This research studies the progress or changes in the post-election reporting style and how the print mainstream media reacted during the 12th General Election. The study looks at selected post-election headline news stories published in the English mainstream daily New Straits Times and the Malay mainstream daily Utusan Malaysia (and their week-end editions New Sunday Times and Mingguan Malaysia) as case studies to explore how the rhetoric of ethnicity is an active undercurrent in any reading of the Malaysian mainstream media.

Keywords: Hegemony, ideology, Malaysia, media, politics