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“In our multiracial society, our Malaysian democracy, nothing is more fundamental than harmony between the many races which form the Malaysian nation. In fact, if I were asked to name one single outstanding quality to explain the success of Malaysia as a free nation, I would without hesitation say it is due to racial understanding and cooperation. Not only does this harmony express the trends of thought and feeling in this country, but it is a treasure of priceless value to each and every one of us.” -Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj

Sixty-one years after our Bapa Kemerdekaan proclaimed Malaysia as a free nation, Malaysians voted in a new government with the hopeful promise of a more vibrant democracy, strong institutions and a more mature political culture. Despite these positive reforms, ethnicity and religion still remain contentious in today’s Malaysia. Our multi-racial makeup is no doubt a strength that should be celebrated, but it is also too often a cause of friction that threatens to unravel the vision Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj had for Malaysia.

“Ethnicity, Religion and the Tunku” is a project that aims to present a critical outlook of how the ideals and wisdom of the Tunku can be relevant to today’s debates around ethnicity and religion in Malaysia. Some of the questions that this project seeks to address are: What are the values and ideas on ethnicity and religion that the Tunku had for Malaya and Malaysia? To what extent did the values and ideas in regards to ethnicity and religion influence the public policies that were implemented during the Tunku’s time? What was racial relations and unity like during Tunku’s time? What are the impacts of the Tunku’s values and ideas on ethnicity and religion on the development of the nation?

We are calling for abstracts on the topic of “Ethnicity, Religion and the Tunku.” Each abstract should be between 100 – 200 words long, 1.5pt spacing, with Times New Roman font sized-12.  All abstracts should be submitted in Microsoft Word format. The full name, designation and institution of the author must be clearly stated with the abstract.

The submission deadline is September 14th, 2018. An academic committee will evaluate the abstracts, and the best will be invited to submit a full paper between 6000 – 8000 words. The selected papers will be presented at a conference in December 2018 in Kuala Lumpur. An honorarium and travel allowance (for authors from outside Kuala Lumpur) will be given to authors who present at the conference.

The topics that we are looking for are outlined below. We are also open to other topics which are in line with the overall project theme.

  1. What Did Being Malaysian Mean to the Tunku?
  2. Ketuanan Melayu and Ethnic Relations

  3. Islam as the Official Religion of the Malaysian Federation

  4. Managing Ethnic Relations in a New Nation: The Singapore Factor

  5. Freedom of Religion or Belief

  6. Race-based Politics and Policies

All abstracts should be emailed to Aira Azhari, Coordinator of Democracy and Governance at aira@ideas.org.my, with the email title “Ethnicity, Religion and the Tunku.”