Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Malaysia : the political and economic aspects of accommodation and conflict regulation in an ethnically divided society

Wan Asna Wan Mohd Nor


Wan Asna Wan Mohd Nor


Clive J. Christie

Paul K. Sutton


This study examines practices used by the Malaysian elites in their efforts to solve problems related to ethnic and cultural divisions in the country. The study traces the history of political development of Malaysia, from the very first attempt at inter-ethnic co-operation --- the meetings of the 1949-1950 Communities Liaison Committee --- to the most recent one --- the deliberations of the 1989-1991 National Economic Consultative Council. The focus of the research is on political and economic issues involved.

Theories which are relevant to the study of ethnicity and political stability such as 'pluralism', consociationalism and conflict-regulation theory are reviewed in this study. In addition, alternative explanations of contemporary Malaysian politics such as those provided by critical social theory, political economy/development and radical political economy approaches are also included. Empirically, the research is based on personal interviews in Malaysia in 1993, materials on the National Economic Consultative Council, letters, parliamentary debates, government and party literature, newspapers, periodicals, election manifestos, articles and books related to the subject.

This study shows that the ideal concepts of consociationalism cannot fully apply to contemporary Malaysia. Because of the dominant role of UMNO in the Barisan Nasional, the system has developed into 'asymmetric accommodation'. However, there is still an adherence to the principle of multi-ethnic coalition, a genuine power-sharing and the presence of accommodative attitudes and motives among the elites which the consociational model highlights.


Wan Asna Wan Mohd Nor. (1996). Malaysia : the political and economic aspects of accommodation and conflict regulation in an ethnically divided society. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jul 27, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Politics
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Politics, The University of Hull
Award Date Mar 1, 1996


Thesis (14.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 1996 Wan Asna Wan Mohd Nor. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Downloadable Citations