Second-class Bumiputera? The taming of the Dayak and Kadazandusun of East Malaysia

James Chin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


This paper traces the political marginalisation of the main Bumiputera (indigenous) political grouping in the East Malaysian state of Sarawalc and Sabah. Often ignored by scholars working on Malaysia, their political plight and marginalisation by the Muslim powerbrokers in both states in the past two decades is symbolic of the making of a Malay Muslim state, rather than the promise of multi-ethnic and multi-religious Malaysian federation. In theory, the Bumiputera are favoured in all political, economic and social spheres under the infamous New Economic Policy (NEP). They are supposed to get easy access to government jobs, scholarships and places in public universities, special licences and easy credit. In reality, it would appear that these benefits are only available to Muslim Bumiputera (MB) while the majority Bumiputera, being non-Malay and non-Muslims, are marginalised or get very little benefit from the NEP and other affirmative action policies. Since the early 1990s, politics in Sarawak and Sabab can best be described as an unequal contest between the three main groups: the Muslim Bumiputera (MB), the Non-Muslim Bumiputera (NMB) and the Chinese. The largest NMB political grouping in Sarawalc is the Dayalc and in Sabah the Kadazandusun.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMisplaced Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People
EditorsSophie Lemiere
Place of PublicationSelangor Malaysia
PublisherStrategic Information and Research Development Centre
Pages109 - 127
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9789670630175
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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