State-Led Modernization and the New Middle Class in Malaysia

By Abdul Rahman Embong | Go to book overview

Notes

1 Introduction

1
While the 1970 and earlier census reports used the term ‘Malays’, later census reports combined Malay and other indigenous ethnic groups in one category, Bumiputera. However, since Malays constitute the largest proportion of the Bumiputera community, the figures for Bumiputera in later censuses are still comparable with earlier census data on Malays.
2
Middle-class studies conducted in the West are too numerous to quote here. Among those referred to in this study are Mills (1975), Giddens (1980), Edgell (1980), Abercrombie and Urry (1984), Goldthorpe (1980, 1982), Wright (1991, 1994), Vidich (1995), Butler and Savage (1995) and Lockwood (1995).
3
Among the studies of the East Asian middle class are Hsiao (1993, 1999), Robison and Goodman (1996), Hsiao and Koo (1997) and Hing Ai Yun (1997).
4
According to the Ministry of Rural Development, in Malaysia in 1995 there were 417 200 households (9.6 per cent of all households) living below the official poverty line 16.2 per cent of poor households were found in Sabah (highest), followed by Kelantan with 14.7 per cent, and Terengganu with 9.9 per cent.
5
Although this procedure may exaggerate the characteristics of the provincial new middle-class respondents because of the apparent over-sampling there, its risks are minimized since in the chapters that follow (Chapters 4 to 8), the author always analyses each of the three sub-samples on its own before making an overall comparison between the metropolitan and provincial new middle-class respondents.
6
This metropolitan and provincial divide is only for analytical purposes. It should not be seen as a dichotomy, but rather as a continuum. This is because large proportions of the metropolitan new middle class consist of ‘outsiders’, that is, people who have migrated to the Klang Valley from the various provincial states. They have roots in their places of origin and return to these places at times of cultural festivals and other occasions.
7
Admittedly, if the researcher concentrates only on one residential area and a sampling frame is available, a random sampling technique is more feasible. However, since the study is comparative between three different geographical areas, it would be much more costly and time-consuming if the researcher used such a technique.
8
Many instances of the lack of co-operation from residents in the Klang Valley were reported in the press when the Malaysian government conducted the population and housing census in July 2000. See, for example, the letter from one of the census-takers, Vijay Ramasamy, entitled ‘A Rather Bumpy Census Exercise’ (The Star, 24 July 2000, p. 22). In this, Ramasamy outline the difficulties he experience in trying to conduct the census among the residents of a condominium on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

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