Regionalism in Malaysia: Containing Grievances in an Ethnoreligious Dominant Party System
21 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: September 1, 2020
The multiethnic state of Malaysia has distinct regional identities that have been shaped both by historical and post-independence factors. These regional identities play a major role in political mobilization and electoral competition. Moreover, their unique religious, linguistic, and cultural attributes produce frequent center-periphery tensions. Yet unlike in neighboring Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, regionalism in Malaysia has not produced any credible secessionist movements or violence. This paper provides an explanation for the absence of secessionism by focusing on demographic nuances and the center's grievance containment measures.
Keywords: Malaysia, Regionalism, Identity, Grievances, Dominant Party System, UMNO
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