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Malaysia - Mahathir politics - Research Paper Example

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Malaysia - Mahathir politics
Policies such as New Economic Policy and National Development Policy were an attempt to improve the lifestyles and incomes of Malays, which were the local people of Malaysia. …
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Download file to see previous pages These policies have created heated debates in the country and recently Prime Minister Najib Razak did appear to be taking a U-turn by introducing New Economic Model to ensure development across all regions, races, and sectors of the economy (Hooker & Othman, pp. 47-48, 2003).
Before coming in power as the Prime Minister of the country, Mahathir Mohammad took a bold stance by writing the book titled “The Malay Dilemma”. He believed that the Malay Dilemma is the fact that many different ethnic groups and communities have ruled the country, learned the language of the native people, took over the resources and business of their ancestors, and exploited them for their own good throughout the Malaysian History. He believed that the Malays had become strangers and salves in their own land. They have the biggest stake in the country and the growing discontent amongst these people was the main cause of the racial riots in the country. The dilemma is that the Malays are forced to accept the systematic steps taken by the government to give them exposure in the economy and according to Mahathir; they should accept it to move forward in order to create an integrated, peaceful, and ethnically diverse Malaysian society (Cheah, pp. 301-302, 2002).
During his era, Mahathir placed immense importance on Islam and Islamic principles during his regime in the country. Mahathir believed that Islam strongly stresses on equality and social justice in all lifestyles and the inability of the people to follow those and principles and the inability of the government to implement the same has remained the major cause behind the amplification of Malay Dilemma (Hunter, pp. 264-268).
Mahathir gets the credit for the economic progress and development that he brought to the country, which started in the year 1990 when the previous economic policy expired. Mahathir’s National Development Policy was aimed at increasing the share of Malays in the national income to 30 percent, reducing poverty in the country, attracting foreign investment through liberalization and free market economy, improving the infrastructure in the country and others. Until 1997, the Malaysian economy grew at an annual average growth rate of 9 percent. However, the 1998 Asian financial crisis did happen to put the brakes on country’s economic growth (Khoo, 74-75, 2003). In his early years of power, Mahathir has realized that the Dakwah movement is a strong force and in order to ensure his power, he will have to focus on the same as well. Therefore, under Mahathir’s administration, the government placed great importance on Islam and with the help of Anwar Ibrahim, the finance minister of Malaysia then, a process of Islamization started in the country with government adopting a “look east” rather than “look west” policy. In addition, this resulted in increased media coverage for Islam and Islamic issues, increasing funds for Islamic religious organizations, founding Islamic banks and Islamic insurance companies, including Islamic teachings and principles in the school curriculum and others (Mohamad, pp. 20-21, 2010; Peletz, pp. 55, 2002). As a Muslim, Mahathir held this belief that Islam is different from other religions and it is a complete code of life. Therefore, Islam should have its due interference in the matters of State as well. When Mahathir came into power, there was increasing wave of Islamism amongst the Malays who were becoming more religious and more conservative. Since they represented the biggest chunk of Mahathir’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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