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Managing political uncertainty in Singapore

Shrinking political space, selected presidential election, preserving the Lee Legacy and political succession

Join invited experts for a roundtable discussion on political developments in Singapore.

When: 5 - 7pm, Thursday 17 May 2018

Where: History Room S223, Quadrangle Building, University of Sydney


The ruling People Action Party’s (PAP) success in the 2015 General Election has culminated in a shrinking of political space in the electoral authoritarian state.  

Controversies surrounding the squabbling ‘first family’ siblings over the late Lee Kuan Yew’s residence, Presidential elections which restricted candidates to the Malay community and grilling of a Singaporean academic during the Select Committee hearings on ‘fake news’ exemplify the shrinking political space in the city-state. The PAP government has also been challenged by the issue of political succession, having failed to identify a frontrunner as the future Prime Minister despite the recent cabinet reshuffle.

Join Associate Professor Lily Rahim (University of Sydney), Associate Professor Bridget Welsh (John Cabot University, Italy) and Dr Nicholas Harrigan (Macquarie University) for a roundtable discussion on political developments in Singapore. 

This roundtable is co-organised by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC) and the Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia (MASSA) and is run in conjunction with Politics in Action 2018.

Associate Professor Lily Rahim

Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney

Lily Rahim is a specialist in authoritarian governance, ethnic politics and democratisation in Southeast Asia and political Islam in Muslim-majority states. Her books include The Singapore Dilemma: The Political and Educational Marginality of the Malay Community, (Oxford University Press), Singapore in the Malay World: Building and Breaching Regional Bridges (Routledge), Muslim Secular Democracy (PalgraveMacmillan) and The Politics of Islamism (PalgraveMacmillan). Lily’s forthcoming co-edited book (with Michael Barr) is titled The Limits of Authoritarian Governance in Singapore’s Developmental State (PalgraveMacmillan).

Associate Professor Bridget Welsh

Associate Professor of Political Science and the Director of Asian Outreach, John Cabot University, Italy

Bridget Welsh specialises in Southeast Asian politics, with a particular focus on Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. She has edited/written numerous books, essays on Malaysia’s Dominant Party, and over fifty chapters and academic articles. Her latest book is Regime Resilience in Malaysia and Singapore (edited with Greg Lopez). Her research reflects a keen interest in democracy and governance in East Asia, especially Southeast Asia.

Dr Nicholas Harrigan

Department of Sociology, Macquarie University

Nicholas Harrigan is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Macquarie University. His research on Singapore focuses on (1) the impact of social, economic, and health policies on low-wage migrant workers; (2) methods for engaging in large-scale, participatory, and public research; and (3) best practice for NGO-academic collaborations. He is also a senior volunteer and coordinator of the research subcommittee of the Singaporean migrant worker NGO Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2).

Image by Brian Jeffery Beggerly.