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Commentary: Malaysia’s national consensus on race and politics risks unravelling


Chin, J, Commentary: Malaysia's national consensus on race and politics risks unravelling, Channel News Asia, Mediacorp, Singapore, 20 September (2019) [Newspaper Article]

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KUALA LUMPUR: When Malaya became Merdeka (independent), the political consensus was that all the three major ethnic groups (Malays, Chinese, Indians) will have their own political space. The elite from each community will then come together at the top and bargain on behalf of their ethnic group. Thus, you had a multiracial government based on elite consensus. Each group understood that you cannot have everything, that you must compromise and temper the more ethnically chauvinist ambitions within your own group. This political consensus worked until May 1969 when racial riots broke out in downtown Kuala Lumpur and the entire country was placed under emergency rule. When parliamentary rule was restored in 1971, the 1957 political consensus was preserved but the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and Malays were recognised as first among equals. Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) was the order of the day but the Malaysian Chinese Association (or MCA representing the Chinese) and Malaysian Indian Congress (or MIC, representing Indians) knew that they had a place, albeit a smaller space, under the Malaysian sun.

Item Details

Item Type:Newspaper Article
Keywords:Malaysia, history, political development, UMNO, PAS
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:Political systems
UTAS Author:Chin, J (Professor James Chin)
ID Code:136049
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2019-11-28
Last Modified:2019-11-28

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