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Posted on April 7th, 2012, by

The Main Problems of the Social Groups in Malaysia and the Ways of Solving them
(Descriptive Analysis Essay)

Malaysia is a multinational country where you can find a lot of different ethnic groups such as the Malayans, the Chinese, the Indians and others. It is known that as a rule every multinational country has certain problems with the mutual relations between the representatives of different social groups. Malaysia is no exception. The main problems of the social groups in Malaysia lie in several aspects which will be analyzed in this descriptive essay.

In order to give the thick description of the main problems which make inter-ethnic conflicts in the country it is necessary not only to study the ethnic structure of the Malaysian society but also to learn the history of building up the aboriginal and the alien ethnic groups. Besides it is very important to touch on the governmental policy of Malaysia and find the ways which are used to settle the inter-ethnic conflicts in the country.

According to the statistical data the population of Malaysia consists of 180 ethnic groups. The aboriginal population include the Malayans whose number is the largest in the country (more than 50%). They are called Bumiputera or “the Sons of the Land”¯. Most of the Malayans are the Muslims but you cannot say that Malaysia is an Islamic state because according the Constitution it is a multi-ethnic state with the Malayans domination where the liberty of religion is guaranteed. (Hefner 15) The Chinese and the Indians in Malaysia were given the recognition of their interests including the rights to the citizenship, the economic rights, as well as the liberty to save, practice and spread their religion, culture and language. (Zawawi) The Malayans saved their main national symbols: the sultans, the special status in the society (Article 153 of the Constitution), their language which is the official language of the country (Article 152) and their religion. According to the Article 153 those Malaysians who are Muslims and speak Malayan language and adhere to the Malaysian customs have special rights in the sphere of education, business and municipal service without derogation from the other ethnic group’s rights. Such a policy is considered to be the policy of positive discrimination which was born after the inter-ethnic conflicts on May,13 in 1969. The main reason of these conflicts was the Chinese control and domination in the economics of the country.

So the Malayans did everything they could to save their control in the country. Many statesmen, the Englishmen and the Chinese by the origin, were replaced by the Malayans. Moreover the Malayans were worried that the number of the Chinese and the Indians reached 45% of all the population. The New Economic Policy was the way out of the situation in order to reduce the level of unemployment and poverty of the aborigines. M. Peletz, the famous anthropologist and the expert of the South-Eastern Asia’s problems considers that the New Economic Policy was the way of reconstruction the society changing the relations between the ethnic groups and the economical position of the country. (M. Peletz 245) This policy included both ethnic and racial policy where the aboriginal groups had special opportunities and to make their life better.

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