Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Social Developments --- Communalism Contained

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Social Developments --- Communalism Contained

Article excerpt

Widespread expectations that the economic crisis would strain Malaysia's delicate communal relationships were not realized in 1998. Certainly, there were some indications of racial tension. The hard-hit Malay corporate sector, and organizations such as UMNO Youth, issued loud calls for special government assistance to ensure that Malay corporate gains made incrementally over the past couple of decades were not eroded overnight. Criticism of entrepreneurs investing money outside the country sometimes implied this was a Chinese phenomenon. And at the local level there were clashes between adherents of a mosque and a Hindu temple in Penang, and the torching of a temple in Pahang, early in the year.

Yet the absence of open communal tensions was remarkable. Not only were communal tensions contained, but in February the government announced a policy of selling some corporate assets of financially strapped Malay businessmen to non-Malays and foreigners. Non-Malays did not become the targets of attack like the Chinese in Indonesia. Adverse social implications from the crisis were largely confined to an increase in petty crime, and official clashes with illegal foreign workers. Even the fierce political contest between Mahathir and Anwar from September occurred without inflaming communal passions --- despite frequent government warnings that communal harmony was endangered. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.