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2008 Malaysian Elections: The End of Malaysia's Ethnic Nationalism?
Unformatted Document Text:  and was largely ignored. Jemaat Tabligh's political influence was reduced even further by the fact that the bulk of its members were non-Malays from South Asia (Mohamad Abu Bakar 1981:10489). Darul Arqam sought the creation of a self-contained Islamic society untainted by Western ideas. Its significance lay in its 48 self-supporting communes and estimated RM 300 million of assets. Darul Arqam challenged the state-building project by creating an alternative social sphere based upon shariah law in the form of the Islamic commune, Sungai Penchala (Mohamad Abu Bakar 1981:1048). Government Response to the Islamic Revival The government responded to the Islamic revival in a number of ways: accommodation, co-optation, imitation, and coercion (see Barraclough 1983; Lee 1988; Camroux 1996; Lyon 1979). Accommodation. Recognizing UMNO's vulnerability to PAS's flanking maneuver, Prime Minister Mahathir incorporated elements of PAS's agenda into his administration. The goal was to affirm the intent of the dakwah groups while confining their influence within the parameters of official ethnic nationalism. The government's Islamization program in the early 1980s included the establishment of an Islamic consultative body that would advise the government on religious matters, the International Islamic University, the expansion of facilities for Islamic education on the tertiary level, the Islamic Bank, and the upgrading of the status of Islamic courts (see Hussin 1990:138-139, Table p. 134; Khoo Boo Teik 1995:175-179). It also undertook symbolic measures like building more mosques, undertaking daily broadcasts of the azan (the Muslim call to prayer), televising the annual Qur'an recitation competition, and giving UMNO leaders a high profile at Islamic celebrations like the Prophet Muhammed's birthday. 19 R. Arakaki - MPSA 2008

Authors: Arakaki, Robert.
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and was largely ignored. Jemaat Tabligh's political influence was reduced even further by the
fact that the bulk of its members were non-Malays from South Asia (Mohamad Abu Bakar
1981:10489).
Darul Arqam sought the creation of a self-contained Islamic society untainted by Western
ideas. Its significance lay in its 48 self-supporting communes and estimated RM 300 million of
assets. Darul Arqam challenged the state-building project by creating an alternative social
sphere based upon shariah law in the form of the Islamic commune, Sungai Penchala (Mohamad
Abu Bakar 1981:1048).
Government Response to the Islamic Revival
The government responded to the Islamic revival in a number of ways: accommodation,
co-optation, imitation, and coercion (see Barraclough 1983; Lee 1988; Camroux 1996; Lyon
1979).
Accommodation. Recognizing UMNO's vulnerability to PAS's flanking maneuver, Prime
Minister Mahathir incorporated elements of PAS's agenda into his administration. The goal was
to affirm the intent of the dakwah groups while confining their influence within the parameters
of official ethnic nationalism. The government's Islamization program in the early 1980s
included the establishment of an Islamic consultative body that would advise the government on
religious matters, the International Islamic University, the expansion of facilities for Islamic
education on the tertiary level, the Islamic Bank, and the upgrading of the status of Islamic
courts (see Hussin 1990:138-139, Table p. 134; Khoo Boo Teik 1995:175-179). It also
undertook symbolic measures like building more mosques, undertaking daily broadcasts of the
azan (the Muslim call to prayer), televising the annual Qur'an recitation competition, and giving
UMNO leaders a high profile at Islamic celebrations like the Prophet Muhammed's birthday.
19
R. Arakaki - MPSA 2008


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