Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.1355/cs42-1b
Title: Urban versus Rural Voters in Malaysia: More Similarities than Differences
Authors: Ong, Elvin 
Keywords: Social Sciences
Area Studies
International Relations
Political Science
Government & Law
urbanization
modernization theory
democratization
political attitudes
voting behaviour
Southeast Asia
Malaysia
ECONOMIC-DEVELOPMENT
ELECTIONS
POLITICS
URBANIZATION
VILLAGERS
DEMOCRACY
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2020
Publisher: INST SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES-ISEAS
Citation: Ong, Elvin (2020-04-01). Urban versus Rural Voters in Malaysia: More Similarities than Differences. CONTEMPORARY SOUTHEAST ASIA 42 (1) : 28-57. ScholarBank@NUS Repository. https://doi.org/10.1355/cs42-1b
Abstract: In Malaysia, ethnicity is the primary social cleavage around which politics is articulated, organized and contested. Yet, extant scholarship also suggests urbanization as an important secondary cleavage driving political conflict. Urban voters are perceived to be more politically engaged and active, and politically more liberal, as compared to their rural counterparts. They are therefore more likely to vote for political parties opposed to the Barisan Nasional. But is there really an urbanrural dichotomy in Malaysia? This article contends that the existing literature regarding urbanization’s effect on political attitudes and voting behaviour in Malaysia is fraught with theoretical, methodological and empirical challenges. Furthermore, survey data from three waves of the Asian Barometer suggests that differences with regards to political attitudes between urban and rural Malaysians diminish substantially or contradict theoretical expectations when other demographic variables are controlled for. These results suggest that scholars of Malaysian politics should be wary of findings that exaggerate urban-rural differences. Perpetuating the stereotype misleads future research, entrenches political polarization and deepens the potential for social conflict.
Source Title: CONTEMPORARY SOUTHEAST ASIA
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/193748
ISSN: 0129797X
1793284X
DOI: 10.1355/cs42-1b
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