Neo Wilsonianism

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3. Reasons behind the limited democratic reforms in Malaysia

3.1 The Argument of Neo-Wilsonianism trade off for democracy
Globally, the level of democracy in Malaysia is poor. This situation is accounted to several reasons practiced by the state. Firstly, the Malaysian state believes that a totalitarian control of the state helps to build the state as it is divided along racial lines. This argument can be further explained using the neo-Wilsonianism argument proposed by contemporary democracy analysts. Neo-Wilsonianism focuses on “focuses on political and economic liberalization as means to build viable democracies” (Belloni 2007:98). However, contemporary proponents of democracy argue that the concept of neo-Wilsonianism will not
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Malaysia practices coalition politics, where different allies form coalition pact for better benefits. It is argued that political stability and avoiding ethnic confrontation is successfully maintained when elite consociational practices are used along with political controls restricting political competition (Ibid). According to Loh, convergence of interests between political elites, business classes and other interests groups indeed constrained the rise of civil society, resulting in the non-liberalisation of the political sphere (Loh 2002). For instance, the Bumiputera policy in Malaysia is a preferential treatment policy towards the Malay according to the Malaysian constituion. When such policies exist, the majority race in the country will benefit from the privilleges and tend not to voice out displeasure against the…show more content…
There were several laws and policing in the Malaysian state which were used to curtail democracy in Malaysia. This was very rampant during the Mahathir era, where Sultan’s power were curtailed, several judges were sacked and new laws were proposed. In recent times, the United Nations has mentioned that a series of amendments to Malaysia’s 1948 Sedition Act risk seriously undermine freedom of expression and opinion throughout the country (UN News Centre 2015). The UN High Comissioner for Human Rights further added that “These proposals are particularly worrying given that the Sedition Act has been applied in many instances to curb the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression in Malaysia – including through the arrests of individuals for merely tweeting their criticism of Government policies and judicial decisions” (Ibid). This shows that consociationalism and the curtailing of democracy by the state has weakened the civil society in the state, making democratic reforms
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