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An analysis of the political, economic and social changes brought about in West Malaysia by the 1969 election crisis to the end of 1975

Jenkin, Brian Charles (1980) An analysis of the political, economic and social changes brought about in West Malaysia by the 1969 election crisis to the end of 1975. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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In Malaysia certain demographic, ethnic, political, economic and social proportions existed prior to the national elections of 1969. These are described and analysed in the early sections of this dissertation in order to compare them with the altered situation later. Changes were initiated over a period of time following the severe riots accompanying the Alliance Government's re-election with a reduced majority of seats.

Immediately after the riots came a period of emergency which lasted for nearly two years, during which time the Government diagnosed the causes of the 1969 events and began to take steps to remedy them. These actions were to cause profound change in West Malaysia.

Institutionally, the National Parliament resumed in 1971, and the National Front coalition was created by the end of 1973, resulting in overwhelming success for the Government in a national election held in 1974.

Politically, Malay strength was increased through the agency of emergency powers from 1969 to 1971 and subsequently through Parliament. The means included legislation to dampen any potential racial violence, enacting further laws against dissidents, weakening the opposition and widening and strengthening of the Alliance.

The New Economic Policy was a result of the Government diagnosing economic deprivation as a major cause of the May 1969 events. It strove to right the economic imbalance between the bumiputras and non-bumiputras, and to a lesser extent to eradicate overall poverty during the Second Malaysia Plan period from 1971 to 1975. To these ends the Government stepped up its involvement in the economy, taking advantage of its enhanced political strength.

All of these changes, institutional, political and economic, led to social change which created the potential for class alliance across ethnic lines. The failure of the Government to achieve the substantial promised improvement in rural conditions, or to alleviate poverty, heightened the possibility of union among the lower classes. The elites of each ethnic group remained in coalition at the top, their alliance having been augmented politically and socio-economically as a result of the 1969-1975 changes. Subjectively, however, ethnic differences were perceived as predominant. This may have been intensified, deliberately or otherwise, by the Government's policies and practices after 1969. Social stratification may ultimately supersede ethnic classification in the self concept of Malaysians if the economic gap between rich, middle income earners and poor becomes great enough.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Inquiry
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Supervisor(s): UNSPECIFIED
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