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Embittered Authoritarianism: Contemporary Malaysia in Comparative Perspective

  • Dan Slater

Audio and transcript from the Southeast Asia Program seminar, "Embittered Authoritarianism: Contemporary Malaysia in Comparative Perspective," with Dan Slater on Feb. 9, 2015. 

Malaysia has long had an authoritarian (UMNO/BN) regime strong enough to allow it to concede democratic reforms without conceding electoral defeat. Unlike its authoritarian counterparts in Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, and now Burma/Myanmar, however, Malaysia’s regime has thus far eschewed this surprisingly common Asian strategy of “democracy through strength.” Dan Slater discusses how and why Malaysia’s rulers have responded to their regime’s gradual decline with the rhetoric but not the substance of democratic reform.