What Do Lame Ducks Have To Do With Politics? Political Jargons Explained

A little info about political jargons.

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What Do Lame Ducks Have To Do With Politics? Political Jargons Explained

Not sure what the political terms mean?

Everyone is talking about the current local political drama and a lot of unusual words, phrases or jargons are being thrown around kiri, kanan and tengah

If you've been watching or reading reports (or listening to that very intense political friend - we all know that one person - comment) about the latest political scene and are going "huh?!", don't worry, we've got you covered!

Read on to master some of the political terminologies that have been cropping up in news reports these last few days.

Lame duck prime minister


This term has got nothing to do with the waterfowl birds but refers to a president who's successor has already been elected.

A lame duck prime minister is usually seen as having less influence because of his limited time in office. (Although as Dr M has proven, having less influence is not always the case)

Recently used: 

Kami yakin bahawa percubaan memaksa Perdana Menteri menentukan tarikh peralihan kuasa sebagai usaha jahat untuk menjadikan Perdana Menteri sebagai “lame duck PM”. - Azmin Ali


Coup d'etat


A coup d'etat is a French term that literally means "blow of state". Before you even try to figure this one out (and no, it's not THAT kind of blow), a coup d'etat is basically a coup.

It is a forcible expulsion or removal of power of an existing government by non-democratic means i.e. what Azmin and his peeps were allegedly trying to do. 

Recently used: 

“I would like to declare that this is a failed coup d’etat. The back door efforts will not succeed unless Mahathir is involved." - Khalid Samad quoted in a report by Free Malaysia Today.

Backdoor government


According to Collins Dictionary, backdoor is when something is done in secret, indirect or in a dishonest way.

Sooooo, backdoor government would be a government that is formed in a secret, indirect or dishonest way. Basically, ikut pintu or jalan belakang lah

Recently used:

"The formation of any backdoor government must not be tolerated and cannot go down without any form of protest." - Bersih 2.0

A bloc


A bloc when it comes to politics is just another way of saying an alliance. According to Wikipedia, a bloc is a cooperation by members of different political parties, in countries with a parliamentary system, on a common agenda of some kind.

For example
Group A: "Hey, we want power and we believe in A,B,C,D"
Group B: "Hey, we want power and we believe in A,B,C,D too"
Group A & B: "Jom gabung!" 

Bloc formed!

Recently used: 

“We, PKR MPs have declared that we have left PKR and the Pakatan Harapan coalition to form an independent bloc in Parliament." - 11 MPs from PKR aligned to Azmin Ali as reported in the Malay Mail

Interim PM vs Caretaker PM


No, Bob, (we're naming Bob after that one friend who makes the lamest jokes) one is not more caring than the other.

They both essentially mean the same thing. An interim prime minister or caretaker prime minister is someone who is temporarily appointed as - you guessed it - the prime minister. 

Recently used:

"An interim PM has all the powers attached to the office of prime minister. That includes appointing or not appointing cabinet members as he wishes." - Attorney-General Tommy Thomas as quoted in Malaysiakini.

Hung parliament

A hung parliament is one where no political party or coalition has enough seats to declare an overall majority.

Malaysia has a total of 222 parliamentary seats. How are they divided? Have a look at this graphic by The Star dated 23 February.


The coalitions and independent blocs (hey, you know what a bloc is now!), are constantly changing due to the current political turmoil so we're all glued to the news for updates.

Recently used:

"Amidst talk of a “government breakdown” and hung Parliament, this development is just another dramatic turn of events since conversations about a “unity government” surfaced last month." - reported in an article by the New Straits Times

Horse trading


Just like the lame duck, horse trading has got nothing to do with the elegant hoofed herbivorous animals.

Horse trading when it comes to politics refers to dodgy tactics used to bring in members from the opposition party to gain a majority. 

Recently used: 

Massive “horse trading” was taking place to prevent the state from falling.

“Some Bersatu loyalists aligned with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad may jump ship and support the state government. It is a numbers game, ” said a source to The Star pertaining to politicians jumping camp in Johor. 

You now know more than you did before

And just like that, you've turned into a political smarty pants.  (At least for the next few days lah.)

Now, let's all watch and see as the drama unfolds. 


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