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2008 Malaysian Elections: The End of Malaysia's Ethnic Nationalism?
Unformatted Document Text:  cleric in its leadership and the fact that many of the candidates it fielded were either Muslim school teachers or religious clergy (von der Mehden 1963:612). The party was founded in 1951 by a group of ulama who broke off from UMNO because of differences with UMNO's more accommodating stance towards non-Malays. Their seeking to replace the traditional Malay sultanate with a council of ulama is an important indicator of the theocratic paradigm. Although PAS and its Islamic nationalism had been a part of Malaysian politics since Merdeka, it did not become a major political force until the Islamic revival occurred in the 1980s. PAS provided the dakwah movement a means by which to express itself as a political party and influence Malaysian politics through electoral competition. The Islamic Revival In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Malaysia saw the emergence of a grassroots Islamic revival also known as the dakwah movement. 21 The Islamic resurgence in Malaysia was a broad complex social phenomena which ranged from informal student prayer groups to organized groups like: Parti al-Islammiyah Se-Malaysia (PAS), Angkatan Belia Islammiyyah Malaysia (ABIM, Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement), Darul Arqam (House of Arqam), and the Jemaat Tabligh. 22 The aims of the dakwah groups ranged from those that placed emphasis on religious ritual, the five daily prayers and the reading of the Qur'an, to those that emphasized din, the total transformation of society and politics. The Islamic resurgence was an unintended result of the NEP. 23 As a result of the NEP's emphasis on providing educational opportunities for Malay youths, many found themselves sent 16 R. Arakaki - MPSA 2008 23 An alternative explanation for the dakwah movement can be found in Lyon (1979:40) suggests that with the 22 For a general overview and description of these Islamic organizations see Jomo and Cheek's "The Politics of Malaysia's Islamic resurgence" (1988); Hussin Mutalib's Islam and Ethnicity in Malay Politics (1990), chapter 3;Mohamad Abu Bakar's "Islamic Revivalism and the Political Process in Malaysia" (1981). 21 It should be noted that "dakwah" literally means "to witness" and was originally understood to refer to the conversion of non-Muslims. Malaysia's dakwah movement for the most part was directed at Muslims (Nagata1980:414, note 17). In this paper the term "Islamic revival" is also used to refer to the "dakwah movement."

Authors: Arakaki, Robert.
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cleric in its leadership and the fact that many of the candidates it fielded were either Muslim
school teachers or religious clergy (von der Mehden 1963:612). The party was founded in 1951
by a group of ulama who broke off from UMNO because of differences with UMNO's more
accommodating stance towards non-Malays. Their seeking to replace the traditional Malay
sultanate with a council of ulama is an important indicator of the theocratic paradigm. Although
PAS and its Islamic nationalism had been a part of Malaysian politics since Merdeka, it did not
become a major political force until the Islamic revival occurred in the 1980s. PAS provided the
dakwah movement a means by which to express itself as a political party and influence
Malaysian politics through electoral competition.
The Islamic Revival
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Malaysia saw the emergence of a grassroots Islamic
revival also known as the dakwah movement.
21
The Islamic resurgence in Malaysia was a
broad complex social phenomena which ranged from informal student prayer groups to
organized groups like: Parti al-Islammiyah Se-Malaysia (PAS), Angkatan Belia Islammiyyah
Malaysia (ABIM, Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement), Darul Arqam (House of Arqam), and
the Jemaat Tabligh.
22
The aims of the dakwah groups ranged from those that placed emphasis
on religious ritual, the five daily prayers and the reading of the Qur'an, to those that emphasized
din, the total transformation of society and politics.
The Islamic resurgence was an unintended result of the NEP.
23
As a result of the NEP's
emphasis on providing educational opportunities for Malay youths, many found themselves sent
16
R. Arakaki - MPSA 2008
23
An alternative explanation for the dakwah movement can be found in Lyon (1979:40) suggests that with the
22
For a general overview and description of these Islamic organizations see Jomo and Cheek's "The Politics of
Malaysia's Islamic resurgence" (1988); Hussin Mutalib's Islam and Ethnicity in Malay Politics (1990), chapter 3;
Mohamad Abu Bakar's "Islamic Revivalism and the Political Process in Malaysia" (1981).
21
It should be noted that "dakwah" literally means "to witness" and was originally understood to refer to the
conversion of non-Muslims. Malaysia's dakwah movement for the most part was directed at Muslims (Nagata
1980:414, note 17). In this paper the term "Islamic revival" is also used to refer to the "dakwah movement."


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