Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Development and the Politics of Social Stability in Malaysia

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Development and the Politics of Social Stability in Malaysia

Article excerpt

Halim Salleh

At first glance, the year 1998 appears to be another landmark in Malaysian history. Anwar Ibrahim was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister on 2 September, and this engendered street protests against his dismissal in Kuala Lumpur for several months. Though street protests, demonstrations and public gatherings, politically motivated or otherwise, have occurred in the past, this is the first time in Malaysian politics that the public openly challenged a Prime Minister to resign --- accusing him, among other things, of being authoritarian and serving only a small circle of cronies. Most observers argue that this marks the rise of a new social era in the country.

However, several months have passed and, at the time of writing, the political status quo remains intact. The government has acted to counteract its apparent erosion of legitimacy by campaigning for unity as if there is an external threat to national security, taking advantage particularly of U.S. Vice President Al Gore's support for reformasi at the November summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum in Kuala Lumpur. The protests have been declining in intensity, and their threat may be more apparent than real. Why did the protests not develop into a large-scale country-wide demand for reforms? Why does the general population seem indifferent and grossly depoliticized? It may be too early to dismiss prospects for reform, but the manner in which social stability has been maintained since the 1970s suggests that the reform movement faces large obstacles. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.