Dominant parties in decline

Over at East Asia Forum, the United Malays National Organisation and the People’s Action Party comes under scrutiny. Bridget Welsh provides an interesting analysis on why two of the world’s longest serving ruling regimes are in decline. A profound reason being that these parties argue about the future based on the past:

Given the ongoing de-alignment, it is not a surprise that both the PAP and UMNO use nostalgia to win votes, focusing on earlier successes. Reminiscing about ‘old Singapore’ or about UMNO statesmen have become common narratives to strengthen party support. These parties are looking to their past, but its leaders have yet to clearly articulate new visions for their parties’ future. Both national leaders, Lee Hsien Loong and Najib Tun Razak, have started to look to the future, but the place for their parties in Singapore and Malaysia’s future is not clear. There is considerable ground to recover, and part of the recovery process involves a look inside to assess how the parties themselves are contributing to their own fortunes.

About Greg Lopez

Greg Lopez is a research fellow at Murdoch University's School of Management and Governance, and New Mandala’s Malaysia and Singapore section editor.