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

By Conner Bailey | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

It was clear to this observer that the State government's efforts to restructure rural leadership provided an unsettling experience for many of Sik's people. Traditional penghulus were replaced by outsiders, the position of panglima was abolished, and even the position of ketua kampung was affected by governmental policies. Two new positions of potential rural leadership were also created. Of these, the Pondok Polis has found a functional niche in the role of mediator, but the Jawatankuasa Kemajuan Kampung (JKK) has proven less successful in serving in the role of broker. These externally-dictated changes came to fruition within a period of fifteen years and were promulgated without reference to local opinion.

Despite the unquestioned importance of these structural changes, this study argues that leadership, at least in a rural Malay context, should be viewed behaviorally as well. The framework of role analysis has has been adopted here to draw attention to the functional content of the several rural leadership positions discussed. That there is a dynamic relationship between position and role is clear both in theory and practice. The influence of Malay adat tends to provide a quality of legitimacy to the incumbent of a formal leadership position, and, especially if through the surat tauliah this leader is empowered with kuasa, the position itself assumes considerable importance. A penghulu, no matter what his personal qualities, will be accorded respect as the Sultan's appointed official. As became obvious when new penghulus were appointed in Sik, however, such respect does not automatically translate into performance of key leadership roles.

From the village perspective, perhaps the most significant result of the structural changes discussed in this study has been the diffusion of leadership roles among a larger number of actors than was previously the case. As we have seen, a trend in this direction was identifiable long before 1970. As social, economic, and demographic conditions evolved during the present century, potential competitors to the penghulu's traditional dominance of these roles were provided with a basis to build their influence and pengaruh. The growth of Sik's rubber industry allowed local men of wealth to rival local penghulus in performing the patron's role,

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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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