Race and Its Competing Paradigms: A Historical Review

Anthony Milner, Helen Ting

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Can Malaysian society and politics ever move beyond a race-based paradigm? The need to do so has been stressed by many of those who are working to move Malaysia to a new developmental stage — but, as the Introduction to this book points out, the potency of this paradigm should not be underestimated. How then has the race paradigm become embedded, and in what ways has it been contested and defended? Is it possible to conceptualize Malaysians in terms other than “Malay”, “Chinese” and “Indian” (with allusions to a list of further indigenous groupings)? This last question is often asked. Some analysts have begun to envisage a national “transethnic solidarity” (Loh 2010, p. 11; Mandal 2004, p. 49), a “growing feeling of multi-racialism” (Gomez 2004, p. 21), a move from a “plural to a multiethnic society or nation” (Ong 2009, p. 478), a “nation of equal citizens” (Ong 2009, p. 478), a more “inclusive citizenship” (Hefner 2001, pp. 45, 48), an emerging “language of inclusion and civility” (Abdul Rahman 2001, pp. 72, 81), and a greater stress on “cosmopolitanism” (Yao 2003). In the past, there have been attempts to imagine a “Malayan” citizenship, a “Malayan Union”, a multiethnic identity under a “Melayu” label, a “Malaysian Malaysia”, a “Bangsa Malaysia” (a Malaysian “race” or “nation”) — and in recent years the federal government constantly invoked the idea of a “1Malaysia”.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTransforming Malaysia: Dominant and Competing Paradigms
    Editors Anthony Milner, Abdul Rahman Embong, Tham Siew Yean
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    PublisherISEAS Publishing
    ISBN (Print)9789814517911
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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