Perceptions of leadership amongst ethnic Malay pupils in residential secondary schools in peninsular Malaysia in the context of national development
This thesis examines the perceptions of ethnic Malay pupils in Residential Secondary Schools (RSS) towards leadership in Malaysia. The thesis begins with a discussion on the struggle for leadership in the case of a multi-ethnic society like Malaysia. The thesis examines the circumstances that led to ethnic Malays' struggle for survival' through the policies of education. The thesis acknowledges that the establishment of the RSS was part of the ethnic Malays' struggle for survival' and has since become an important source for ethnic Malay leadership in Malaysia. The research framework has been developed using the concepts of leadership and elitism. In this study, the government has acted as the catalyst for modernising the ethnic Malay community. Thus, the RSS, as a governmental institution, is considered as playing an important role in selecting pupils who are expected to become the future leaders in Malaysia. The major research questions are: (a) what are the perceptions of ethnic Malay pupils towards education?; (b) what is the selection process for ethnic Malay pupils into the RSS?; (c) how do the RSS operate?; (d) What are the perceptions of ethnic Malay pupils towards leadership? and; (e) what are the perceptions of ethnic Malay pupils towards leadership in Malaysia? The quantitative data are analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Chi-Square analysis. The results are presented using frequency tables and significant values for the hypothetical analysis. The qualitative data are analysed using categorization and comparison. The results are presented using frequency tables and rankings. In addition, documentary analysis is used to complement the results in this research. In general, the results of the study show that there are both similarities and differences in the perceptions of pupils towards the importance of education, leadership and in particular leadership in Malaysia. The results show that pupils are indifferent in their perceptions towards education. However, the study would suggest that the role of education for national development, especially for ethnic Malays, may reflect the objectives and aims of the government for future ethnic Malay leadership in Malaysia. The results also show that pupils' perceptions towards leadership in general and leadership in the context of Malaysia are different in terms of their SES, demographic area, and academic achievements. The study suggests that religion, culture and ethnicity are still important factors for leadership in Malaysia.