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The Sarawak National Party and the interpretations of its nationalism

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Title: The Sarawak National Party and the interpretations of its nationalism
Author: Kadang, Paul Anak Dinggat
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Political Science
Copyright Date: 1979
Abstract: This study focusses on the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) as the political organization sought to cope with changing conditions inside Sarawak and Malaysia. In particular, the thesis investigates two varieties of nationalism and their usage by SNAP for the purpose of survival and expansion. The activities and rise of SNAP are examined over three historical periods which spanned from 1961 to 1978. As a political party SNAP functions in an electorally competitive situation. Its area of operations is largely limited to Sarawak, which is a plural state. Outside the state is the federal government of Malaysia. These three factors — electoral competition, Sarawak's plurality, and the federal government — provided three broad underlying conditions which helped shape the particular emphasis of SNAP's nationalism at different times. In addition, there were immediate stimuli which helped determine SNAP's choice of nationalism. Although SNAP was officially a multi-racial party, it initially recruited most of its members from the Dayak community, the largest ethnic group in Sarawak. SNAP's leaders, who came from the Iban ethnic sub-stratum clearly intended the Dayaks to form the strategic ethnic group in the state. The switch to territorial nationalism came about as a result of an intra-alliance crisis which ended with SNAP's ouster from the government. The advocacy of territorial nationalism enabled the party to recruit a multi-racial following and increase its support. The salience of territorial nationalism continued until 1974 at which time SNAP was invited into power by the government. This invitation, coupled with the downfall of advocates of territorial nationalism from the party's leadership, enabled SNAP to re-emphasise Dayak nationalism.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/21622
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]
Scholarly Level: Unknown

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