The Limits of Authoritarian Governance in Singapore's Developmental State

  • Lily Zubaidah Rahim
  • Michael D. Barr

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Lily Zubaidah Rahim, Michael D. Barr
    Pages 1-25
  3. Historical Context

  4. Political and Policy Context

  5. Media and Political Communication

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 217-217
    2. Cherian George
      Pages 219-232
  6. Legal and Constitutional Context

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 321-329

About this book


This book delves into the limitations of Singapore’s authoritarian governance model. In doing so, the relevance of the Singapore governance model for other industrialising economies is systematically examined. Research in this book examines the challenges for an integrated governance model that has proven durable over four to five decades. The editors argue that established socio-political and economic formulae are now facing unprecedented challenges. Structural pressures associated with Singapore’s particular locus within globalised capitalism have fostered heightened social and material inequalities, compounded by the ruling party’s ideological resistance to substantive redistribution. As ‘growth with equity’ becomes more elusive, the rationale for power by a ruling party dominated by technocratic elite and state institutions crafted and controlled by the ruling party  and its bureaucratic allies is open to more critical scrutiny.

Lily Zubaidah Rahim is an Associate Professor of Government & International Relations at the University of Sydney and a specialist in authoritarian governance, democratisation, ethnicity and political Islam. Her books include The Singapore Dilemma: The Political and Educational Marginality of the Malay Community, (1998) and Singapore in the Malay World: Building and Breaching Regional Bridges (2010), Muslim Secular Democracy (2013) and The Politics of Islamism (2018). Lily Zubaidah is currently President of the Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia (MASSA) and Vice-President of the Australian Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies. 

Michael D. Barr is an Associate Professor of International Relations at Flinders University. His books include Lee Kuan Yew: The Beliefs behind the Man (2000), The Ruling Elite of Singapore (2014) and Singapore: A Modern History (2018). He was Editor-in-Chief of Asian Studies Review from 2012-2017.










Authoritarianism & Singapore Developmental State & Singapore Democratisation in Singapore Governance in Singapore Singapore Social Policy in Singapore Welfare in Singapore Authoritarian Modernity in East Asia Colonialism in Singapore Social Policy Reform in Singapore Populist Managerialism in Singapore Intra-Party Dynamics in the People’s Action Party Pluralism and Political Activism in Singapore Singapore Governance Model Media Policy & Singapore Governing Authoritarian Law in Singapore

Editors and affiliations

  • Lily Zubaidah Rahim
    • 1
  • Michael D. Barr
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Government and International RelationsUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.College of Business, Government and LawFlinders UniversityAdelaide, SAAustralia

Bibliographic information