Transparency and Authoritarian Rule in Southeast Asia: Singapore and Malaysia

Transparency and Authoritarian Rule in Southeast Asia: Singapore and Malaysia

Transparency and Authoritarian Rule in Southeast Asia: Singapore and Malaysia

Transparency and Authoritarian Rule in Southeast Asia: Singapore and Malaysia

Excerpt

The establishment of the Southeast Asia Research Centre at the City University of Hong Kong in 2000 reflected an increased interest in Southeast Asia following two watershed changes. The first was the end of colonialism in Hong Kong, as the territory became a Special Administrative Region of China in 1997. This coincided with the second event, the Asian Economic Crisis, that struck down some of the major economies of the region, with important political consequences.

The RoutledgeCurzon/City University of Hong Kong Southeast Asia Series reflects the Centre's research agenda and seeks to advance understanding of the political, economic and social forces that are shaping contemporary Southeast Asia. The Series aims to produce books that are examples of the Centre's emphasis on multi-disciplinary, comparative and holistic research. It also recognises that the political and economic development of Southeast Asia has often been turbulent, and that the contemporary era is no different.

As the region emerged from decolonisation and war, rapid economic development reconfigured the societies of Southeast Asia. From the mid-1970s, a number of Southeast Asian economies enjoyed periods of significant economic growth. The economies of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia benefited from a more generalised development in East Asia, and made rapid advances, becoming some of the most dynamic economies and societies in the world. Huge flows of foreign capital and the development of relatively powerful domestic capitalist classes rapidly transformed these economies and their societies. The international financial institutions celebrated the region's economic success, urged a continued unfettering of markets, and extolled the benefits of enhanced globalisation.

But the negative social outcomes of the 1997 economic crash posed new challenges for the region's development models and a questioning of the processes associated with capitalist globalisation. Furthermore, the economic crash confronted the region's political regimes with significant challenges. This confluence of economic and political turmoil stimulated a reassessment of the impacts of globalisation and associated ideas about

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