Summary: Malaysia captured international headlines with the July 9 Bersih rally for clean and fair elections. However, it was not so much the rally itself—estimated to have included as many as 50,000 people—as it was the woeful mishandling of the event by authorities, involving the indiscriminate use of tear gas and the arrest of nearly 2,000 people before and during the event. Bridget Welsh, Associate Professor of Political Science at the Singapore Management University, writes that this rally has served to reveal the sharp fault lines that exist within Malaysian society and deepened the challenges that current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak faces in winning his first mandate at the polls.

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