Fireside Chat on Politics in Malaysia; Oxbridge AGM 2016

Annual General Meeting and Fireside Chat with Dr Johan Saravanamuttu: Quo Vadis Malaysia?The Oxbridge Society is holding its AGM (together with a Special General Meeting) on July 14 this year. Details of the AGM are as follows.
Date: 14 July 2016, Thursday

Venue: The Pyramid Club, 2 Goodwood Hill, Singapore 258897

Food and drink will be available from 6:30 pm
The Special General Meeting shall be called to order at 7 pm, and in the event that there is no quorum, the SGM shall be stood down and the AGM called to order, with the SGM thereafter called to order.
Fireside Chat with Dr. Johan Saravanamuttu will begin at 8.15 pm.

Cost: Free of charge for Members; $30 for Guests. Please note that only Members in good standing may vote at the AGM and the SGM.

RSVP: Attendance by RSVP through Peatix only: http://ptix.co/2941ENw

NOTICE OF AGM: This email serves as the notice of SGM and the notice of AGM, which the Society will hold on 14 July 2016 at the time and at the venue mentioned above. The Secretary's Report, Treasurer's Report, Minutes of the previous AGM and the Agenda for this AGM can be accessed at the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/f4avo1hgq3t3dza/AACYx6SmN5bptT9ceRrQdyJ7a?dl=0

Fireside Chat - Blurb and Speaker's Biography

Dr. Johan Saravanamuttu's Fireside Chat is entitled "New Politics in a Divided Nation – Quo Vadis Malaysia?"

It would seem that Malaysia has been buffeted by crisis after crisis after the infamous sacking of deputy prime minster Anwar Ibrahim in 1998 and racial politics has again brought Malaysia close to situations that had sparked the May 13 racial riots of 1969. The 16 September 2015 Red Shirts rally of Malays in support of Najib Razak and his ruling party UMNO was marked by extreme racial overtones and provocations but fortunately did not lead to any major ethnic clash. Few political analysts had initially thought Malaysia could not survive as a "nation", given it deep communal cleavages, compounded by a severe religious divide. Singapore’s departure from Malaysia in 1965 was a testament to how fragile a nation “Malaysia” was. In more recent years, much hope has been placed on the rise of a new politics of multiculturalism growing out of the Reformasi Movement of the late 1990s. However, it took some years before this new politics could translate into a major shift in electoral outcomes toward a two- party electoral system. This was brought about by the landmark 8 March 2008 general election, when the ruling coalition lost its customary two-thirds majority of seats. After the holding of other general election, on 5 May 2013, twin- coalition electoral politics has remained on track but both the ruling coalition and the opposition pact are today afflicted by deep-seated internal political schisms. In the Barisan Nasional, prime minister Najib Razak is facing a protracted political challenge to his leadership in the face of alleged egregious corruption involving billions of ringgit. On the other side of the divide, Pakatan Rakyat has seen the exit of the Islamic party PAS and the second incarceration of its putative leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The talk will focus on electoral politics as the avenue whereby Malaysia overcomes its deep ethnic divisions and fissiparous politics. Politics over time had become more pluralized and complex with the admission of Sarawak and Sabah as states of Malaysia after 1963 and power sharing through electoral politics seems to have ameliorated Malaysia’s racial politics. The speaker will make the broad argument that electoral politics premised on basic democratic principles and a first-past-the- post electoral system has ensured a measure of ethnic peace for the most part of Malaysian history. He will touch on the notions of ethnic vote pooling, “consociation” and “centripetalism” to explain the Malaysian electoral outcomes. With little doubt, the imperative of power sharing over some 60 years of electoral politics propelled a "mediated communalism" as the pivotal win-win stratagem of electoral success for coalition politics. Deployment of such a stratagem explains the dominance of the Alliance and the Barisan Nasional (BN) in electoral politics although this success has been recently breached, as noted earlier, by an opposition alliance severely denting the BN's first mover advantage. The speaker will devote a good part of his talk to examining the character of how Malaysia’s new politics might be sustained or not. He will discuss the outcome of the 2013 General Election and touch particularly on the current gyrations of coalition politics and how this could impact on the impending 2018 poll.

Dr. Johan Saravanamuttu is an independent scholar, and was formerly professor of political science at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang where he served as Dean of the School of Social Sciences (1994-1996). He was Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, from 2007-2014 and, in 1997, was the Visiting Chair in ASEAN and International Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Malaysia’s Foreign Policy, the First 50 Years: Alignment, Neutralism, Islamism (ISEAS, 2010). Other publications include: The New Economic Policy in Malaysia: Affirmative Action, Ethnic Inequalities and Social Justice (co-edited with Terence Gomez, NUS Press 2013);March 8: Eclipsing May 13 (with Ooi Kee Beng and Lee Hock Guan, ISEAS, 2008); New Politics in Malaysia (co-edited with Francis Loh, ISEAS, 2003). His latest co-edited book is Coalitions in Collision: Malaysia’s 13 th General Election (SIRD & ISEAS, 2015) and has authored another book, Power Sharing in a Divided Nation: Mediated Communalism and New Politics over Six Decades of Elections in Malaysia (ISEAS- Yusof Ishak Institute, in press, 2016).
Thu Jul 14, 2016
6:30 PM - 9:30 PM SGT
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Pyramid Club, 2 Goodwood Hill
Members FULL
Guests SOLD OUT $30.00
Venue Address
2 Goodwood Hill Singapore
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