Broker, Mediator, Patron, and Kinsman: An Historical Analysis of Key Leadership Roles in a Rural Malaysian District

By Conner Bailey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III

The Impact of a Modernizing Nation State

In Chapter II a number of important social changes stemming from altered economic and demographic conditions were related to rural leadership during the colonial period ( 1909-1957). This chapter will continue the discussion from Independence to 1974 by focusing first on the structural changes imposed on traditional rural leadership positions by the modernizing nation-state of Malaya,42 and secondly on the effect these structural changes have had upon the roles of broker, mediator, patron and kinsman.

The British-advised government had depended heavily upon the local penghulus of Sik to maintain order in the villages. This goal, together with the collection of taxes, was the primary concern of that era's government. Today Malaysia's government has a different set of demands to make on the nation's rural leaders. Unlike their British predecessors, the present rulers of Malaysia are willing to adjust and utilize tradition to fit new needs.

These needs have been generated by the federal government's ambitious rural development program which seeks to transform rural society by simultaneously improving the village economy and "modernizing" the attitudes of the villagers themselves. The Ministry of National and Rural Development was established in 1959 to coordinate the efforts of the various ministries whose duties involve the rural areas. Instrumental in this task was the creation of a hierarchy of development committees on the federal, state, and district levels (see organization chart on the following page). These committees were headed by the Federal Minister, the state Chief Minister (Mentri Besar), and the District Officer respectively, and provided a forum at which officers of the various ministries and boards involved in rural development work could meet, plan, and coordinate their activities.

It is important to note that political and administrative accountability was built into this system through placing the Federal Minister

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42
With Independence in 1957 peninsular Malaysia was known as the Federation of Malaya. In 1963 Malaysia came into being when Singapore, Sarawak, and Sabah joined the Federation. Singapore subsequently withdrew from the Federation.

-40-

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Broker, Mediator, Patron, and Kinsman: An Historical Analysis of Key Leadership Roles in a Rural Malaysian District
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contents v
  • Abbreviations vi
  • Foreward ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter I 9
  • Chapter II 22
  • Chapter III 40
  • Conclusion 70
  • Glossary 74
  • Bibliography 76
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