A History of the People's Action Party, 1985-2021
Author: Shashi Jayakumar
Publisher: NUS Press
The People's Action Party (or PAP) of Singapore is among the longest-ruling democratically-elected political parties in the world, in power continuously since Singapore gained self-rule in 1959. Such longevity is the hallmark of an institution that is itself dynamic and responsive. But remarkably, the story of the party as an institution has not received the sustained study it deserves, from historians or political scientists.
This narrative history of the PAP follows the decisions made by party leaders as they have sought to respond to the changing demands and expectations of the Singapore electorate, over a 36-year period that saw Singapore enter the ranks of developed nations. It is fully up to date with the Party's response to their loss of seats in the 2020 General Elections, and changes in party leadership succession announced in April 2021. Leadership renewal is one of four dimensions of change in the party that are the book's focus: the others being the party's communications methods and styles, the mechanisms developed for managing institutional change, and the evolution of economic and social policy.
Drawing on internal party documents and multiple interviews with key leaders over a 10-year period, this work provides a detailed portrait of a robust political institution and establishes a distinctive new narrative of Singapore politics.
“Shashi Jayakumar has made an important contribution to our understanding of how the PAP keeps itself in the pole political position in Singapore...A must-read for all interested in the politics of Singapore.”
- Professor Chan Heng Chee
“I enjoyed the book immensely…I recommend this book to all citizens, both old and young. The old because it’s a look back on memory lane and might answer some questions you might have had then about events and happenings. For the young because it’s not just a history of the PAP but a history of “recent’’ Singapore.”
-Bertha Henson, author and journalist
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