Power Sharing in Malaysia: Beyond Unity and Political Duplicity

  •  Kartini Aboo Talib    
  •  Nidzam Sulaiman    
  •  Wan Kamal Mujani    
  •  Siti Rogayah Tibek    
  •  Ermy Azziaty Rozali    
  •  A. Rasyid Ali    


This article examines power sharing models and applies evidence from the Malaysian context. Most power sharing models display a high tolerance for diverse behaviors and use negotiation to restore balance when necessary. Moreover the workable power sharing model is one that improvises in order to meet competing plural contexts. Although the principal of equality is debatable, the tendency is to fulfill everyone’s interests by stretching limited resources to avoid conflict. The Malaysian government has placed significant effort into national programs that cultivate and nurture unity in its unique multiethnic society. Nevertheless, criticism has always regarded intensive government efforts as political duplicity set on maintaining the status quo of a regime. Such propaganda limits the pluralistic nature of society and the ability of its citizens to enjoy basic rights. Thus factors for power sharing are varied and most are leaning toward securing interests and benefits with resource scarcity attached to them. This article applies a qualitative method with process tracing techniques to build its arguments and to delineate evidence. As a result, the findings promote a stance beyond political duplicity and provide an alternative understanding for viewing multiculturalism as an ethnic dimension rather than a distinct ethnic social relation.

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