Semi-democracy in Malaysia : withstanding the pressures for regime change

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-205
Journal / PublicationPacific Affairs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


By examining Malaysia's political record, one is able to specify more closely a category of "semi-' or "limited democracies', as well as assess the increasing pressures for further regime opening. During the two years before Malaysia's general election in 1990, socioeconomic trends, elite-level decisionmaking, and external influences implied transition toward broader democratic procedures and a more competitive party system. But in the period since that election, many semi-democratic controls have been swiftly reimposed. One concludes that semi-democracies may possess greater intrinsic resilience than "ideal-type' authoritarian regimes, enabling state elites effectively to resist pressures toward full democracy. -from Author