Civil Society and Multiculturalism in Malaysia

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There are three important ethnic groups in Malaysia (Malay, Chinese and Indians). Other than them there are a number of indigenous groups (called Orang asli in peninsular Malaysia). In the process of nation making and the Bangsa-Malaysia, various cultural minorities are feeling insecure.Although the constitution provides for equal citizenship, but the recent historical experiences proves contrary. In last three decades with the emergence and assertion of Islamic movement in Malaysia, the Malay identity as a race has become equal to being Muslim. This phenomenon has wider consequences for other ethnic groups in Malaysia. First,the majority assertion in every part of daily life leaves little autonomous cultural space for them. Second, the Government policy itself supports this social phenomenon. The recent protests by Indian ethnic group is just a tip of the ice berg. Beneath lies a more fundamental problem of Malaysian society. My study tries to explore this problem under the given ethnic realities coupled with the newer emerging democratic groups.


Keywords: Multiculturalism, Minorities,, Islam
Stream: Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Pranav Kumar

Research Student, CSCSEASWPS
School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

New Delhi, Delhi, India

I have done my Masters in Politics (International studies). After that I did my M.Phil on "Islamic Movement in Malaysia". Now, I am doing my Ph.D from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Ref: H08P0649