State, Class, and Ethnicity: Reflections on Malaysia's Democratisation Experience
Abdul Rahman Embong
(Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), University Kebangsaan Malaysia)
- 이 글은 5·18 21주년 기념 제2차 국제학술대회<동남아시아의 식민주의, 권위주의 민주주의 및 인권> 2001년 5월 15-17일, 광주에서 발표된 논문임.
- 전문은 첨부파일에 있음.
Noting the tensions and contradictions prevalent in the Malaysian political system as observed by the writer above, one would tend to think that a major crisis such as the recent 1997-98 Asian meltdown would have significantly destabilised the Malaysian government and that a change of the ruling party or its leadership would be in the offing. The crisis, in fact, has triggered regime changes in a number of Southeast Asian countries - the most significant being Indonesia and Thailand. Recent developments have also brought to the fore important questions about democratisation and prospects for social change in Malaysia, showing the important roles played by the middle class, youth and women. Admittedly tremendous tensions and strains have battered the Malaysian political system. Sharp divisions and conflicts among its leaders resulted in the expulsion and jailing of Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's former deputy prime minister and Mahathir's heir-apparent, which have served as a fillip to the rise of a strong opposition to Mahathir's rule among Malaysians particularly Malays (Abdul Rahman 2000). Yet, the regime managed to stave off change by adopting a number of heterodox policy measures to contain the crisis and rebuild the crisis-stricken economy. On the political front, it strongly came out attacking globalisation and the domestic political opposition, and won the November 1999 general elections by retaining its two-third majority in parliament, though it lost considerable popular support among the electorate especially among the Malays.