Zakiah Awang

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. C.I. Eugene Kim

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan C. Isaak

Third Advisor

Dr. Atilla Dicle

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This thesis has attempted to explain the success and the stability of the coalition party system in Malaysia from 1955 to 1982. This success has been attributed to three factors.

The most important factor is the role played by political elites. Malaysian political elites come from a different racial background. It is their willingness to cooperate, work together in harmony and to find solutions through compromises that helped to hold the coalition party together. Elite cooperation, in turn, has been fostered through similarities in the leaders' socioeducational- linguistic backgrounds.

The success of the coalition party is also closely linked to the dominant role of UMNO which is the leader and the strongest party in the coalition. UMNO has been able to attract and maintain overwhelming support of the Malays.

Lastly, the success is also due to the effectiveness of the coalition party in meeting the goals of national development, particularly in socio-economic fields.