Ethnic attitudes, political preferences and the politics of stability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ethnic cleavages have been recognised as a potent force in political system of many developing and advanced countries. Elections are often fought along ethnic and regional lines. Being a multiracial society, any analysis of voting behaviour in Malaysia is bound to take ethnicity into consideration. This article analyses the ethnic attitudes and political preferences among of the three main ethnic groups in the a Malaysian State Legislative Assembly. A survey using questionnaires was conducted from involving a sample of 500 Malays, Chinese and Indian voters. The result of the study shows that the Malay voters were more interested and cared very much which party won the election than the Indian and Chinese voters. The Malays too very concerned about the ethnicity of candidates and the urban Chinese voters were unlikely to vote for DAP if the candidate was not from the same ethnic group. Generally, most of the Malaysian electorate were willing to vote for BN regardless of candidate ethnicity, but the turnout will be higher when the candidate comes from the same ethnic background as the voters. The main reason Malaysian voted for the BN is to preserve comfort of the familiar in the guise of political stability. In conclusion, this study has an impact on ethnic policy, programmes and compromises over differences. Thus, a study on ethnic needs and accommodation is very important to regulate party loyalty and perceptions. The analysis of the Sabak 2004 electoral results showed that ethnic attitudes and political preferences played into the politics of stability in Malaysia. While there had been a desire for reform as testified by the challenge posed to the BN government in the previous 1999 general election, the collective will to see it through - to embrace potential uncertainties that come with an entirely new government scenario was not strong enough to dislodge Malaysians from their addiction to stability. This was because stability was intertwined with ethnic politics. The politics of ethnicity was about the only way Malaysians knew as to how to co-exist. It would be very interesting indeed for future analyses to look again into the question of ethnic attitudes, political preferences and the politics of stability in Malaysia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-38
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Applied Sciences Journal
Volume13
Issue number13 SPECIAL ISSUE
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Fingerprint

political attitude
candidacy
ethnicity
Malaysia
politics
election
voter
ethnic group
political stability
voting behavior
loyalty
addiction
political system
accommodation
compromise
uncertainty
scenario
reform
questionnaire

Keywords

  • Elections
  • Ethnic cleavages
  • National unity
  • Political parties
  • Political stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Ethnic attitudes, political preferences and the politics of stability. / Mat Jali, Mohd. Fuad; Awang Besar, Junaidi; Buang, Amiah @ Amriah; V. Selvadurai, Sivapalan; Er, Ah Choy; Lyndon, Novel.

In: World Applied Sciences Journal, Vol. 13, No. 13 SPECIAL ISSUE, 2011, p. 34-38.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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