chapter  6
28 Pages

Ruling elite groups in Singapore: strength through cohesion

Singapore’s ruling elite is much more homogeneous, internally cohesive, and more effective in executing its plans than Hong Kong’s. Singapore’s state is particularly strong, which enables the government to defuse pressure from opposition groups and thus contain any kind of contention. It therefore enables the ruling elite groups to implement unpopular measures that they deem important for the long-term future of Singapore. According to Worthington, the Westminster political system in place in Singapore allows for very strong governments in between elections. Ideally, the system is based on the mutual trust between different political parties and between the government and the electorate (Worthington 2003). In the case of Singapore, however, the highly centralized institutional network has enabled the government to monopolize power in a very small group of people, which can be considered the core of the ruling elite groups. This chapter will demonstrate how Singapore’s elite maintains cohesion and what tactics and goals it pursues in order to maintain its rule over the small city-state.