ANU Malaysia Institute Seminar
Malaysia appears to be fragmenting under the weight of salafiIslamisation - threatening the country's secular and democratic constitutional foundations. Initially instigated by state-led Islamisation initiatives under the Mahathir administration, the promotion of salafi Islam has become increasing assertive, particularly since the 2013 general elections. In this election, the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional (BN) government lost the popular vote. More recently, UMNO and the conservative opposition Islamist party PAS have attempted to introduce hudud (sharia penal code) legislation through the Federal parliament – further reconstructing the character of the post-colonial state. The lecture examines Malaysia's salafiIslamisation in conjunction with the broader socio-political and economic pressures confronting the ruling BN government. The ambiguous and fragmented responses of the predominantly Muslim-led opposition parties (Amanah, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Bersatu) towards salafi Islamisation will also be considered. After sixty years of independence, Malaysians continue to be challenged by the following questions: What is the constitutional status of sharia law?; How should the dual legal jurisdictions (civil and codified sharia) be managed?; Can traditional interpretations of sharia genuinely accommodate principles such as citizenship rights, gender equality and democratic constitutionalism?
Lily Zubaidah Rahim is an Assoc Professor at the Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney. She is a specialist in authoritarian governance, ethnic politics and democratisation in Southeast Asia and political Islam in Muslim-majority states. Her publications include The Singapore Dilemma: The Political and Educational Marginality of the Malay Community, (Oxford University Press 1998/2001; translated to Malay by the Malaysian National Institute for Translation); Singapore in the Malay World: Building and Breaching Regional Bridges (Routledge, 2009); Muslim Secular Democracy (PalgraveMacmillan, 2013) and The Politics of Islamism: Diverging Visions and Trajectories(PalgraveMacmillan, 2017, Forthcoming). Lily is completing her fifth book on governance reform in Singapore. She has published in international journals such as Democratization,Contemporary Politics, Journal of Contemporary Asia andAustralian Journal of International Affairs. Her sole-authored journal article ‘Governing Muslims in Singapore’s Secular Authoritarian State’ was short-listed for the Boyer Prize by the Australian Journal of International Affairs (AJIA) in 2011.
Lily is the Convenor of the multi-disciplinary ‘Religion, State and Society’ (RSS) Network, Vice-President of the Australian Association for Islamic and Muslim Studies (AAIMS) and Co-Convenor of the Social Inclusion Network (SIN) at the University of Sydney. She is currently President of the Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia (MASSA) – the peak academic association on Malaysia and Singapore Studies in Australia.