Islamic Influence in Malaysian Politics
Since gaining her independence in 1957, Islam was declared the national religion of Malaysia. However religion has little influence in shaping the minds and political wills of Malays especially when it comes to choose their political representatives in elections. Even though there was an Islamic based political party (PAS) in every election since 1959, Malays have prefered the Malay nationalist party (UMNO). Exemptions however should be given to two states, Kelantan and Terengganu. The Malays in both states which pictured as a most religious people have chose PAS in elections. Kelantan was governed by the party since 1959 to 1978, than again in 1990 until to date while the Terengganu Malays have voted PAS in 1959 and 1999. The rest of the states have never give chance to this Islamic based party. Questions arose especially on factors that responsible for this situation. Therefore this presentation will focus on reasons for the Malays in Kelantan and Terengganu to choose PAS in those elections. This paper will also discuss on the Malays in Johor (for example) for their undivided loyalty to UMNO as comparative to Kelantan and Terengganu.
Keywords: Malaysian History, Malaysian Politics, Religion
Azmah Abdul Manaf
Lecturer, Schools of Distance Education, University Sains Malaysia