eCite Digital Repository

‘Malay Muslim first’: the politics of Bumiputeraism in East Malaysia


Chin, J, Malay Muslim first': the politics of Bumiputeraism in East Malaysia, Illusions of Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People, Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, S Lemiere (ed), Selangor, Malaysia, pp. 201-220. ISBN 978-967-0960-87-6 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Sophie Lemiere

Official URL:


This chapter traces the political marginalisation of the main Bumiputera (indigenous) political grouping in the East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah. Often ignored by scholars working on Malaysia, their political plight and marginalisation by the Muslim powerbrokers in both states in the past two decades are symbolic of the making of a ‘Malay Muslim’ state, rather than the promise of multi-ethnic and multi-religious Malaysian federation. In theory, the Bumiputera were favoured in all political, economic and social spheres under the infamous New Economic Policy (NEP). They are supposed to get easy access to government jobs, scholarships and places in public universities, special licences and easy credit. In reality, it would appear that these benefits are only available to Muslim Bumiputera (MB) while the majority Bumiputera, being non-Malay and non-Muslim, are marginalised or get very little benefit from the NEP and other affirmative action policies.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:Sabah, Sarawak, politics, Indigenous, bumiputera
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Government and politics of Asia and the Pacific
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Government and politics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Chin, J (Professor James Chin)
ID Code:121976
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2017-10-24
Last Modified:2018-05-18

Repository Staff Only: item control page