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William Case, "UMNO Paramountcy: A Report on Single-party Dominance in Malaysia," Party Politics , 2 (January, 1996), 115-127.

First Paragraph:
Between closed, single-party systems on one side and competitive, multi-party systems on the other lies a category of single-party-dominant regimes. Here, the same party remains in power for long periods of time, even as it permits at least some democratic procedures and opposition party challenges. This intermediate posture - most conspicuous today in East and Southeast Asia - is beginning to stimulate some scholarly interest and activist defence. Scholarly inquiries track the material distributions and control mechanisms that enable dominant parties to persist. Activist agendas go further, attributing these parties' persistence to their tapping correctly the cultural discipline of Confucianism or the consensual norms of Islam. Put simply,activists extol dominant parties as culturally persuasive rather than brutally coercive, meshing with the timeless collectivism and new partipatory stirrings that appear to mark societal outlooks in the region.

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Last Paragraph:
Today, the UMNO is perhaps at the peak of its power. If it faces any medium-term challenges, they will, as suggested earlier in this report,spring from within the Malay community. They may be exacerbated also by the dilemmas that arise with economic growth. In particular, if growth persists - or perhaps even accelerates - it risks dislocating many Malays instead of steeling their confidence further, thereby hastening their flight to revivalist Islam. On the other hand, if growth declines - as one day it must - sharp factional struggles over the material patronage may again set it. Moreover, both scenarios involve renewed Chinese suspicions. But while such challenges would surely test UMNO dominance, the party's record of political learning highlights its profound capacity to cope, shaping national agendas, bargaining with coalition members,recreating followings and mobilizing voters. And though the UMNO has never shrunk from strategically using coercion, what Pempel would find interesting is the extent to which the UMNO has found other ways through which to perpetuate its dominance.