United States democracy assistance in Malaysia

the nature and impact of concurrent strategy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This exploratory article seeks to analyze the nature and impact of one of the main democracy promoters in Malaysia i.e. the United States (US). The US is a promoter that is often being alleged with interfering with Malaysian domestic affairs, especially since the sacking of former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim in 1998. This article argues that the US democracy promotion in Malaysia can be conceptualized under the framework of a concurrent democracy assistance strategy. This is due to the fact that while the US is supporting the non-regime compatible program, it is also concurrently channeling bigger aid for regime-compatible program to Malaysia from 1999–2015. The improvement of diplomatic ties between both countries since post-Mahathir era and the prioritization of security issues have led to a more engaging conduct of democracy promotion. Despite the US continuous funding of non-regime-compatible programs through non-state actors, this approach was nevertheless balanced by cordial relations at the state level. Nevertheless, the effect of US democracy assistance and promotion on Malaysia’s democratic development has been minimal, reinforcing the views on the difficulty to promote democracy in a semi-authoritarian regime.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPacific Review
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2018

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democracy
Malaysia
assistance
promotion
regime
prioritization
minister
aid
funding
programme

Keywords

  • civil society
  • Democracy assistance
  • democracy promotion
  • Malaysia and the United States bilateral relations
  • regime change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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