Good Governance: A critical introduction
Good Governance: A critical introduction. By Maszlee Malik. Gombak: IIUM Press, 2015, Pp. 125. ISBN: 978-967-418-374-5.
Reviewer: Khairil Ahmad, Department of Political Science, International Islamic University Malaysia. E-mail: email@example.com.
In this book, Maszlee Malik presents an introduction to the concept of Good Governance, which has gained prominence of late within the context of international development and political institutional reform. While “governance” is a notion that denotes our general understanding about the diverse procedural and technical aspects that are related to the way the modern society is managed, Good Governance refers to a doctrine about governance that is comprehensive and imbued with moral assumptions. As such, it assumes a set of philosophical underpinnings which are in line with liberal-democratic principles, which would set itself apart from “bad governance”. In practice, it has become the lynchpin of international developmental and institutional reform efforts that have developed through the Washington Consensus, where aids and assistance are conditional upon its institution.
Admirably, Maszlee manages to tackle a vast topic concisely, and with great clarity. This includes a sound treatment of a massive corpus of texts that are not only directly related to the development of good governance as a recent doctrine, but also those that play a philosophical role in its development. Earlier in the book, Maszlee examines the shifts in how the notion of “governance” has been used in recent times, from being a term that is closely related to the workings of government, to one which application encompasses a variety of institutions and organisations.However, these shifts, according to him, are not as momentous as the emergence of the notion of Good Governance. While the former encompass definitional and operational changes, which allowed for scientific rethinking of their usage, the latter emerges as a moral doctrine, which allocates normative values on society. Against the background of this acknowledged importance of Good Governance, Maszlee presents a critical overview of the debates...