Malaysia – National Identity Crisis

The Interplay of Islamic Hadhari and National Identity in Malaysia by Norani Abu Bakar

Malaysia is rich with its diversity in culture and faith and both elements are added values to the nation. In the light of its historical evolution and development as an independent nation, the citizens of this country are at the cross road of their solidarity to their faith, culture and nation. The voices of the Malaysian souls on the conflict of national identity are upraising. As a country with a majority Islamic population, the role of Islam in molding the soul of Malaysians is vital.

This paper studies the interplay of Islam Hadhari (Civilization Islam) and the Malaysians national identity and presents its finding into two parts. The first section summarizes chronologically the significant historical backdrops related to religion, culture, politic and economic which form the key transformational elements to the current identity of Malaysians.

The second section critically evaluates the Islam Hadhari concept which was introduced by Tun Ahmad Badawi and its interplay with the process of national identity renewal, where by the people are the objects and also among the agents in defining own existential reality while holding to the former identity that truly reflects the latter.

The last segment of this paper gives two main transformational agents in trickling down the religiorelative effect in order to improve the performance of Islam Hadhari; first the education system and second, the interfaith collaboration programs.