The Challenge of Building a Multi-Ethnic State in Malaysia
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This paper examines the tests and trials of building a multi-ethnic state in Malaysia. It shows how the state—governed for over half a century by the UMNO and the BN ruling elite—persistently clings on to the notion of Bumiputeraism and aspiration of a Malay Malaysia. This is an anathema to building a multi-ethnic state that celebrates the wealth of diversity in the post-colonial state it was built upon. This paper questions the predominance of the Malays and Islam as the standard norm, which inadvertently affects the way the state treats the minority ethnic groups. The authors argue that elite intransigence among the proponents of Bangsa Melayu could well damage the foundations of the state and change altogether the face of Malaysia forever.
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