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Retrospect and prognosis in Malaysia and Singapore

This article looks at the state of sociolinguistics and the sociology of language in Malaysia and Singapore. Singapore and Malaysia go their ways as independent polities, but probably with far greater amity and cooperation than if the marriage had never been dissolved. Economically and politically, they remain complementary. In Singapore, language problems are in symbiotic relationship with political, economic, cultural, and social processes. For the past years, as of 1984, a Speak Mandarin campaign has been directed at the Chinese-speaking population, ostensibly to enhance cultural pride and unity among them. There is also a campaign in progress to reinforce certain aspects of traditional Confucian ethics, corresponding to an Islamization campaign for Muslims in Malaysia. This article shall deal briefly with the conflicts apparently inherent in the policies of the Singapore Government and the need for a more coherent understanding, in both Malaysia and Singapore, of sociolinguistic processes. [Download]

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Overcoming Ethnic Inequalities: LESSONS FROM MALAYSIA.

Author 1 Klitgaard, Robert

Author 2 Katz, Ruth

Beginning in 1971, Malaysia took unprecedented steps to improve the welfare of ethnic Malays vis-a-vis the country's large Chinese minority. The programs included quotas in education, employment, and ownership, as well as a variety of subsidies, credit schemes, and political measures. The circumstances were favorable: The disadvantaged ethnic group was a majority and held the political reins, and soaring export prices generated much new growth to redistribute. But enormous efforts at "affirmative action" led to only marginal changes in the interethnic distribution of income. Malaysia's new policies reduced racial inequalities less than one might have hoped, but they also had fewer bad effects on economic efficiency and political stability than one might have feared. [Download]

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Issues in Christian-Muslim Relations: A Malaysian Christian Perspective

This article aims to elucidate key practical issues affecting Christians living in a majority Islamic context. It further proposes significant policy options for managing Muslim-Christian relations in twenty-first-century Malaysia. Education is crucial for promoting interreligious harmony, religious freedom, and respect for people of different traditions. More collaborative endeavours through interfaith dialogue should help Malaysians transcend cultural, racial, linguistic and religious barriers. Both Christian and Muslim faith communities need to learn more about and from each other and to move forward towards nation-building and a common destiny. [Download]

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Affirmative action, ethnicity and integration: the case of Malaysia

In societies with ethnically diverse populations, the persistence of ethnicity, often associated with economic, political and social inequalities between ethnic groups, continues to cause concern among scholars and practitioners. In some of these societies like the U.S., India, and Malaysia - affirmative action programs have been instituted as a means to redress these inequalities and with the aim of promoting national integration. While historical and political conditions surrounding these programs differ between societies, it is fruitful to draw some general ideas from individual case studies which would provide material for later comparative studies. This paper attempts to do that by analyzing the affirmative action programs in Malaysia. It traces the emergence of the idea and practice of affirmative action, how these have changed over time, successes and failures of programs and effects they have on issues of equality and integration. [Download]

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Fixity and Flux: Bidayuh (Dis)engagements with the Malaysian Ethnic System

This article explores conceptions of the Malaysian ethnic system from the perspective of certain Bidayuhs, an indigenous group of Sarawak, Borneo. Recent scholarship has highlighted the 'fluid' and 'shifting' nature of Malay identity; but less attention has been paid to how ethnic minorities in the region depict Malayness. I suggest that for many Bidayuhs, Malay-ness is marked by an inescapable flxity which stifies a fluidity that they value as intrinsic to Bidayuh-ness and other aspects of life. Moreover, this sense of flxity has been mapped onto their conceptions of the (Malay-dominated) Malaysian ethnic system, in which they are inescapably entangled. The article investigates some of the consequent tensions arising from Bidayuh (dis)engagements with Malaysia's ethnic 'flxity', while tracing certain trends and changes in this relationship. [Download]

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