Muslim Politics in Malaysia and the Democratization Process / Polityka muzułmańska a procesy demokratyzacji w Malezji
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This article addresses the Muslim politics in Malaysia in the light of the broader shifts towards democratization and Islamization by focusing especially on politics among the majority ethnic Malay community, followed by an overview of the ideological rivalry between UMNO and PAS, with special reference to the electoral performances of these parties in the past three general elections (November 1999, March 2004 and March 2008). It then explores the underlying reason for the perceived importance of Islam in understanding the voting trend among the Malay -Muslim electorate which raised the question to what extent was the discourse on Islam instrumental in persuading the Malays to switch their support from PAS to the UMNO during the 2004 elections? and how UMNO under Tun Dr. Mahathir’s leadership (the fourth Malaysian Prime Minister), steadily ‘Islamized’ its politics in response to pressure that came from a domestic and international Islamic resurgence which also reflected how central is the role of Islam in terms of influencing voting patterns among the Malays? The process of continued PAS participation as an ‘Islamic party’ in mainstream politics has encouraged PAS leaders to seek compromises, and to play by the ‘rule of democracy’ which reflected the strong democratic inclination within PAS leadership. In the concluding part of the article the author also provides readers with an overview on reform agenda of Civilizational Islam (Islam Hadhari) under premiership of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (the fifth Malaysian Prime Minister) and the current Malaysia’s Transformation Programme (GTP) under the leadership of Dato’ Sri Mohd NajibTun Abdul Razak (the sixth Malaysian Prime Minister).
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