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Bringing Ideology in: Differing Oppositional Challenges to Hegemony in Singapore and Malaysia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 December 2015


This article explores the nature of the main opposition parties to the incumbent hegemonic regimes in Malaysia and Singapore. I argue that the differing characters of these opposition parties should be considered. In Singapore, where there is no ideological challenge to the ruling party, I contend that even if the opposition takes over it will be the end of a hegemonic party but not hegemony. In Malaysia, the opposite is true. This article contributes to the literature on transition theory in two ways: (1) it recognizes the diversity of authoritarian regimes and enhances analyses of various authoritarian regimes by focusing on one type – hegemonic parties; and (2) it brings ideology into the reckoning by focusing on the nature of the opposition parties most likely to take over.

Copyright © The Author(s). Published by Government and Opposition Limited and Cambridge University Press 2015 

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Walid Jumblatt Abdullah is a PhD student at the National University of Singapore and Kings College London. Contact email:



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