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The Roots Of Resilience

by Meredith L. Weiss

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The Roots of Resilience examines politics from the ground up in Singapore and Malaysia—two regimes that blend politically liberal and authoritarian features in their governance. Although curbed civil liberties and a dose of coercion help sustain these regimes, selectively structured state policies and patronage, partisan machines that effectively stand in for local governments, and diligently sustained clientelist relations between politicians and constituents are equally important. Although key attributes of Singapore and Malaysia differ, affecting the scope, character, and balance among national parties and policies, local machines, and personalized linkages—and notwithstanding a momentous change of government in Malaysia in 2018—many similarities remain in the way their dominant political parties have evolved and developed their relationships with the ground.

As Meredith Weiss shows, taken together, these attributes accustom citizens to the system in place, making meaningful change in electoral mobilization and policymaking all the harder. This authoritarian acculturation is key to both regimes' durability, but, given weaker party competition and party–civil society links, stronger in Singapore than Malaysia. High levels of authoritarian acculturation, amplifying the political payoffs of what parties and politicians actually provide their constituents, explain why electoral turnover alone would be insufficient for real regime change in either state.

Paperback: 288 Pages
Product Dimensions: 152 x 229 mm
ISBN: 9789813251212

Published by NUS Press