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Kassim, Azizah bte (1985) Politics of accommodation: A case study of Malay squatters in Kuala Lumpur. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis is an attempt to study local level politics among the urban poor, i.e. the squatters in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, by focusing attention on a Malay squatter community in a squatment in the southwestern part of the city and examining their struggle to retain their illegally occupied land and their attempt to improve their living conditions in the squatment in the face of an apparently unsympathetic urban bureacracy. The study is prompted by Oscar Lewis' theory of 'culture of poverty' and the concept of marginality and it is the contention of this thesis that the Malay squatters are neither marginal nor do they exhibit traits of Lewis' 'culture of poverty'; they are sufficiently well organised at the community level which accounts for their success in achieving some of their communal goals and such success is attributable to their close association with politicians from the party in power. The thesis consists of eight chapters. Chapter I, the introduction, outlines the aims and scope of the thesis, its problems, theoretical orientation and provides a brief background of the country and its people. Chapter II traces the historical development of squatting in Peninsular Malaysia (formerly Malaya) with special reference to the emergence of squatting among Malays in Kuala Lumpur. Chapter III examines the development of the squatment under study and the squatters' initial involvement with political parties. Chapter IV deals with the squatter community, its economy and social networks. Chapter V takes a look at the squatters' relationship with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the predominant party in the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) between 1967 and 1977. Chapter VI examines the basis of the squatters' dependency on UMNO and the exchanges taking place between them, while Chapter VII looks at the role of the political party in community organisation of the squatters. Chapter VIII, the conclusion, summarises the findings of the thesis, compares the Malay squatters with those of other ethnic groups and explains the nature of the relationship between the squatters and UMNO in terms of political party patronage.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:01

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