Year

1998

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Hons.)

Department

Department of Sociology

Abstract

This thesis analyses the roles of the Rakan Muda youth programme in Malaysia, and in particular at its role as a crime prevention mechanism. This analysis of the social construction of youth problems is done in the context of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation in Malaysia, with a special focus on the eastern state of Sarawak. The thesis use three sets of data: information from the Ministry of Youth and Sport which administers the scheme, items from both peninsula and Sarawak newspapers, and interviews with thirty members of the Rakan Muda programme in Kuching, Sarawak. Young people are considered by the authorities to be 'at risk' of criminal involvement. Accordingly, their behaviour, especially their leisure activities, are highly publicised by the media, more so when those activities are perceived to contradict the norms and values of Malaysian society. The Rakan Muda programme allows the authorities to interfere in young people's lifestyle while claiming to ensure that the young do not deviate from these norms and values. This thesis examines the mechanisms by which the government does I this, and makes some tentative proposals on how young people might read the government's intent.

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