Independence: The Further Stage of Colonialism in Singapore



Current scholarship on governance in Singapore seeking to explain the People’s Action Party (PAP)’s dominance, authoritarianism, and its bureaucratic state, has focused on post-separation Singapore, and in particular on the developmental state and performance legitimacy. It has generally used analytical frameworks and methods common to the study of governance and democratisation in other post-colonial authoritarian states. However, this chapter argues that governance in independent Singapore has fundamental continuities with colonial rule. The rhetoric and strategies used to justify PAP policies are evolutions of the rhetoric and strategies of the late-colonial government. Its mechanisms and institutions are carried over from colonial rule, or were formed in response to the challenges of the late-colonial period. The chapter thus argues that governance in Singapore needs to be understood in this context, that democratisation in Singapore should be better understood under as analogous to decolonisation, and that democratisation in Singapore needs to be pursued using the approach of anti-colonialism.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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