Illusions of Democracy
Illusions of Democracy
Malaysian Politics and People
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Asian Studies
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Table of Contents
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Foreword by Joseph Chinyong Liow Acknowledgments Introduction by Sophie Lemière Part One: The (Mis-)Rules of Ethno-Politics Chapter 1 Demi Agama, Bangsa dan Negara: Silat Martial Arts and the 'Third Line' in Defence of Religion, Race, and the Malaysian State Lawrence Ross Chapter 2 The Real World? Fabricating Legitimacy in a Semi-Authoritarian State Sophie Lemière Chapter 3 Malaysia's Constitutional Identity: A Chimera? Mohd Nazim Ganti Shaari Chapter 4 Rebooting the Emergency: Najib's Law 'Reform' and the Normalisation of Crisis Amanda Whiting Chapter 5 Federalism in Serambi Mekah: Management of Islamic Education in Kelantan Azmil Tayyeb Part Two: The Local Scene and the International Game Chapter 6 Malaysian Politics and the South China Sea Dilemma Alessandro Uras Chapter 7 The Construction of Malaysia's Foreign Policy since 1957: An Emerging Middle Power's Choice to Follow, Challenge or Compromise with the Global Order Delphine Allès and Louise Perrodin Chapter 8 Ummah Revisited: Anti-Shia Hatred in Malaysia since the Outbreak of the Syrian Civil War Dominik M. Müller Chapter 9 The Violent Trajectory of Islamisation in Malaysia Aida Arosoaie and Mohamed Nawab Osman Part Three: The Voices of the 'Others' Chapter 10 Life in Limbo: Refugees in Malaysia Gerhard Hoffstaedter and Louise Perrodin Chapter 11 'Malay Muslim First': The Politics of Bumiputeraism in East Malaysia James Chin Chapter 12 Troubling Malaysia's Islamic State Identity: The 'Young' Struggle of LGBTQ's Narratives and the Art of Mis-Representation Angela M. Kuga Thas Part Four: The (Mis-)Management of Resources Chapter 13 Economics, Politics and the Law in Malaysia: A Case Study of the 1MDB Scandal Kerstin Steiner Chapter 14 Collecting, Resisting, and Paying Corporatised Zakat in Contemporary Malaysia Patricia Sloane-White Chapter 15 Malaysia's Green Movement: Old Continuities and New Possibilities Azmil Tayeb and Yew Wei Lit Chapter 16 Responsible Resource Management of the Oil and Gas Sector in Malaysia: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities Tricia Yeoh Afterword List of Contributors Index

Reviews and Features

"The empirical accounts in Illusions of Democracy are clear and well organized, making it not only an excellent resource for researchers but also very suitable for use in graduate-level classes on South East Asian politics."
- Carlo Bonura, SOAS University of London, South East Asia Research (2022)

"Illusions of Democracy brings together over a dozen experts in Malaysian politics and society to explore various dimensions of identity, religion, regionalism, and power in contemporary Malaysia. At a time of political uncertainty in Malaysian politics, these contributions make for compelling reading for scholars and citizens alike."
- Thomas Pepinsky, Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University

"In a time when political discussion in the country seems to be reduced to the most basest of levels, it is with great relief that Sophie Lemière has decided to expand the work started in Misplaced Democracy in this new volume of essays examining the Malaysian situation. I hope that this book will spark more intellectual debate as to the direction this country is heading and perhaps more importantly: should be heading."
- Azmi Sharom, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Malaya

"Malaysia is led by one of the most successful political parties in the world — UMNO-led coalitions have ruled since independence in 1957, a record that exceeds any elected government in power. Malaysia has also had an important international role as a leader of the regional ASEAN, and a global role as a moderate Muslim country. But with declining support for the government in recent elections is UMNO rule secure? Is Malaysia still a democracy? And can Malaysia’s international prominence be maintained with China exerting a stronger regional presence, and Islamic conservatives becoming more assertive at home? These issues are at the centre of this wide-ranging, excellent collection by Malaysian and international analysts."
- John Funston, Visiting Fellow, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University

Sophie Lemière (ed.)

Illusions of Democracy

Malaysian Politics and People

Illusions of Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People offers an up-to-date and broad analysis of the contemporary state of Malaysian politics and society. Transcending disciplinary boundaries, it offers a look at Malaysian politics not only through the lens of political science but also anthropology, cultural studies, international relations, political economy and legal studies touching on both overlooked topics in Malaysian political life as well as the emerging trends which will shape Malaysia’s future. Covering silat martial arts, Malaysia’s constitutional identity, emergency legislation, the South China Sea dilemma, ISIS discourse, zakat payment, the fallout from the 1MDB scandal and Malaysia’s green movement, Illusions of Democracy charts the complex and multi-faceted nature of political life in a semi-authoritarian state, breaking down the illusions which keep it functioning, to uncover the mechanisms which really underlie the paradoxical longevity of Malaysia’s political, economic and social system.

Sophie Lemière

Sophie Lemière is a political anthropologist at the Ash Center for Democracy in the Democracy in Hard Places Program at Harvard University and is currently a visiting fellow at CSEAS, Kyoto University (until December 2019). She has also been awarded visiting fellowships at the Humanities Center at Stanford University and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington DC, in 2020. She holds a PhD and a Masters in Comparative Politics from Sciences-Po (France).