Abiding by Malaysia: mediating belonging through cultural contestations

Nadarajah, Y 2010, 'Abiding by Malaysia: mediating belonging through cultural contestations' in Alperhan Babacan; Supriya Singh (ed.) Migration, Belonging and the Nation State, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, United Kingdom, pp. 133-156.

Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: Book Chapters

Title Abiding by Malaysia: mediating belonging through cultural contestations
Author(s) Nadarajah, Y
Year 2010
Title of book Migration, Belonging and the Nation State
Publisher Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Place of publication United Kingdom
Editor(s) Alperhan Babacan; Supriya Singh
Start page 133
End page 156
Subjects Environmental Sciences
Summary The uneasiness triggered through an announcement by the then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed in 2001 declaring Malaysia an Islamic state precipitated a disquiet towards what seemed to be a weakening of the secular and multicultural pluralistic basis of Malaysia. This paper considers how the concept of an Islamic state, incrementally applied through a complicated mixture of responses to maintaining MalayBumiputera ethno-nationalist aspirations and privileging fidelity to rulers and Islamic religious structures, has reopened questions of and issues related to the negotiation of common national citizenship and belonging. Through a longitudinal community-based study in the epicentre of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this paper examines, in the light of the recent national elections, current contestations surrounding constitutional perspectives on freedom of religion, secularism and national public life and the effect of Tamil community mobilisation activities such as the Hindu Rights Action Force. These contestations may provide some insight within which Malaysians could mediate the document of destiny that was adopted as the Constitution for an inclusive community and open up the minority perspective as a conceptual space for negotiating belonging.
Copyright notice Copyright © 2010 by Alperhan Babacan and Supriya Singh and contributors
ISBN 9781443820813
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