The Role of Citizen Political Participation in Hong Kong and Singapore
Both Hong Kong and Singapore are city states that traditionally have
lacked broad political participation, instead political decisions were left up
to a small group of leaders. Historical factors were critical in determining the
role of political participation in both city states. Hong Kong's history of
colonial rule and the strength of the People's Action Party (PAP) in Singapore
acted to keep broad citizen participation in government to a minimum.
Hong Kong after World War Two remained a colony of England and it's
government remained under colonial rule. Unlike in other Asian nations such as
Singapore their existed ...view middle of the document...
Kong it really was the English that ruled not the Chinese public.
In Singapore following the end of World War Two a single political party
came into power in Singapore, the People's Action Party which was a strongly
anti-colonial left wing party was a made up of communists and more moderate
socialists. After independence Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and his allies were
able to steer the party away from communism and toward a more moderate stance.
The People's Action Party tolerated dissent and other political parties because
Lee Kuan Yew felt he had a solid political base. The PAP so dominated politics
that no other political party emerged in Singapore as a strong force. In the
democratically held elections in Singapore the PAP always won by large
majorities. The greatest blow came to the PAP in 1984 when the opposition won
two seats in the 79 seat legislature in Singapore. This was largely due to a
recession during the period and dissatisfaction with the governments economic
policies. The public although given the right to vote had little say in the
government of Lee Kuan Yew because it was nearly guaranteed that he would win.
Because of this in Singapore, politics disappeared and was replaced by an
administrative state run by meritocratic system of bureaucrats. Only recently
has the public been granted more say in government affairs. Following the
election of 1984 the PAP implemented new policies to broaden its base of support.
First, the party steeped up its recruitment of young members. Second, the
administration agreed to discuss the National Agenda and formulation of the PAP...