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[Vol. 36, No. 2, 2018]



Published by
Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia

Print ISSN: 0127-4082
Online ISSN: 2180-4273
Frequency: Biannually
Current Issue: Volume 36, No. 2, 2018
Abstracting/Indexing: EBSCO, Genamics JournalSeek, Google Scholar, MyCite, Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS), Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ), JURN, ASEAN Citation Index (ACI), BrillOnline Biblipographies

Kajian Malaysia is listed in Scopus and ERA Ranked Journal List.

USM has extended content delivery format for its journals’ publication in print and PDF to include ePub, to address the growing need for more mobile accessibility.

News: Kajian Malaysia bags inaugural Ministry of Education CREAM Award
:: Aims & Scope

Kajian Malaysia is a refereed journal committed to the advancement of scholarly knowledge of Malaysia by encouraging discussion among the several branches of social sciences and humanities. The journal publishes articles, reviews and notes which by their content or approach, is of interest to a wide range of scholars. Although the journal would focus mainly on works in the field of Malaysian studies, articles with a theoretical content may also be published.

Kajian Malaysia is published by Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia by an autonomous Editorial Board drawn from staff members of the University. The Board is assisted by a panel of distinguished scholars from local and foreign universities.

The journal pursues a bilingual publishing policy (Bahasa Malaysia and English). The Editorial Board reserves the right to decide which language an article will appear in, and will undertake to provide professionally acceptable translations.


:: Publication Ethics

Kajian Malaysia adheres to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) standards on publications ethics. For further details please visit:


:: Current Issue

Volume 36, No. 2, 2018

Title: Precarious Intellectuals: The Freelance Academic in Malaysian Higher Education
Author: Alicia Izharuddin
Source: Kajian Malaysia 36(2) 1–20, 2018
- Abstract  

What is the impact of the rising class of the academic precariat – defined as academic workers contracted to teach and conduct research on short-term, zerohour contracts – on Malaysia's rapid industrialisation of higher education? This article seeks to illuminate the employment pattern of this growing class of insecure academic labour at a time when there is a decline in tenured appointments and academic positions for new PhD graduates in Malaysia. The work environment of the academic precariat is characterised as flexible at best and exploitative at worst; an average academic precariat may experience a drop in wages commensurable with their qualification and experience, lack of employment benefits and office hours, and "docility" under the disciplinary management of a neoliberal institution. This article also seeks a sensitive reading of how freelance academics understand themselves by highlighting their affective or emotional labour and whose experiences are specifically shaped by insecurity, vulnerability and uncertainty. Taking a sociological approach to examining this phenomenon, this article argues that the rise of the academic precariat can be attributed to the discursive climate within and at the peripheries of Malaysian higher education that operates alongside the restructuring of funds into higher institutions of learning. Such a discursive climate surrounds the unstable semantic reproduction of the designation "academic" and its catch-all usage to describe individuals within and at the peripheries of academia. Arguing that the rise of the academic precariat is a bleak indication of the state of higher education in Malaysia, this article closes with strategies for mobilising resistance and marshalling support through the strengthening of unions for full-time, part-time and freelance academics.

Keywords: Precarity, neoliberalism, higher education, academics, Malaysia

Title: Do Be Malay(sian): 8TV'S Fantasy and the Malay Other
Author: Luqman Lee
Source: Kajian Malaysia 36(2) 21-41, 2018
- Abstract  

In August 2011, Malaysian television station 8TV's three Ramadan public service announcements (PSA) garnered shocked responses from Malaysian Chinese viewers nationwide for their presumably ethno-condescending overtones. What may on the surface appear to be an issue of simple oversight by the broadcaster reveals upon closer examination to be indicative of two realities – the hierarchised interfaith and interethnic normative, and the increasing vocality of minority groups who seek to reconfigure this normativity. I posit that both realities are directly and tangentially productive of the very same racial-racist beliefs that were challenged. There are two facets to our inquiry – the purportedly "non-racist" intent of 8TV, and the racial lens through which the content was decoded. This paper discusses the paradox of Malaysian racial discourse through Žižek's transposition of Lacan's fantasy to the socio-political domain as ideological fantasy writ large on screen, where by alleging that 8TV's intent was racist, viewers were in fact identifying the gap between the symbolic discourse of Malay supremacy and its material realities. Moreover, by identifying with or alleging that 8TV's intent was racially-biased, it is argued that the viewers were necessarily racialist.

Keywords: Malay identity, 8TV, Ramadan PSA, Žižek, Lacan, Malaysian television

Title: Urban Poverty Alleviation Strategies from Multi-dimensional and Multi-ethnic Perspectives: Evidences from Malaysia
Author: Khoo Suet Leng, Mohamad Shaharudin Samsurijan, Parthiban S. Gopal, Nor Malina Malek and Zahri Hamat
Source: Kajian Malaysia 36(2) 43–68, 2018
- Abstract  

Lately, poverty has been a highly contested concept. Traditionally, poverty was a phenomenon associated to those entrapped in the lower rungs of society. This perception is attributable to the quantitative measurement of poverty determined by a controversial indicator ‒ the "poverty line". Historically, majority of the poor are rural folks with income levels below the poverty line. Massive ruralurban migration necessitated by industrialisation and rapid urbanisation caused the emergence of a new social class – the "new poor" or "urban poor". Though scholars argued that industrialisation and urbanisation do create opportunities for wealth accumulation, but at the opposite end of the continuum we now face the "urban poor" issue inflicting our urban citizenry. The dire situation demands that the poverty concept should go beyond income levels and be more all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. In Malaysia, the situation becomes more pressing because the Malaysian population comprises people from diverse ethnicities like Malays, Chinese and Indians as the three most dominant ethnic groups. Such ethnic diversity in Malaysia's social structure will reflect the way diverse socio-cultural and economic conditions shape and define poverty. Thus, due considerations should also be given to "ethnicity" when deliberating the strategies that can enable a person to escape the poverty cycle. This qualitative study attempts to fill a pertinent research gap by examining poverty alleviation strategies not only from a multi-dimensional approach, but also from Malaysia's multi-ethnic viewpoint. This study highlighted that the receipt of aid/assistance differs amongst ethnic groups with Malays indicating more instances of receiving aid from the government compared to those of their Chinese and Indian counterparts. It was also found that the Chinese and Indians who escaped urban poverty depended mostly on personal values (i.e. diligence, perseverance, spiritual belief, self-discipline) to help them confront poverty. The recommendations from this paper will serve to reconceptualise the meaning of urban poverty in Malaysia and subsequently understand the different types of poverty alleviation strategies that are unique to each different ethnic group.

Keywords: Urban poverty, poverty alleviation strategies, Malaysia, developing country

Title: Probation Officers and the Experience of Juvenile Offenders in the Juvenile System
Author: Taufik Mohammad and Azlinda Azman
Source: Kajian Malaysia 36(2) 69–88, 2018
- Abstract  

Probation officers are among the individuals who come in closest contact with juvenile offenders in Malaysia. They have extensive responsibilities in the juvenile justice, such as interviewing the juvenile offenders about their social system, writing a probation report for the court, and making recommendations based on their observations. This makes them reliable figures for ascertaining what is happening in the juvenile system. Based on this, this article argues that it is pivotal to study the perceptions of the probation officers regarding the juvenile experience to understand the effectiveness of the system. In this mixed method study, 12 probation officers from 6 states in Malaysia were interviewed. The close-ended items required them to rate each component of the questionnaire, which are related to aspects of the preparation of offenders for entry into the system, their participation inside the system, and their outcomes. The participants' ratings indicated higher-than-average satisfaction. However, the qualitative data showed a mixed response, with respondents expressing more scepticism about the system and often focusing on external factors. Additionally, the probation officers discussed the importance of modules for the juvenile offenders' benefit upon release. The responses from the probation officers shed light on how the experiences of the juvenile offenders can be improved through a three-layer plan that includes the process of preparation, detention, and release.

Keywords: Probation officers, juvenile offenders, juvenile justice

Title: Federalisme dan Pengurusan Pendidikan Islam di Kelantan
Federalism and Management of Islamic Education in Kelantan
Author: Azmil Mohd Tayeb and Sharifah Nursyahidah Syed Annuar
Source: Kajian Malaysia 36(2) 89–111, 2018
- Abstract  

Secara teorinya, federalisme sebagai sebuah sistem tadbir urus membolehkan susunan kuasa yang seimbang antara kerajaan persekutuan dengan negeri-negeri komponen yang berautonomi, yang secara rasmi digariskan oleh perlembagaan. Walau bagaimanapun, dalam amalan yang sebenar, keseimbangan kuasa itu jarang berlaku. Di Malaysia, sistem persekutuan amat memihak kepada kerajaan persekutuan yang dominan walaupun bidang kuasa yang jelas telah diberikan kepada negeri-negeri oleh perlembagaan. Artikel ini akan menggambarkan mengapa kerajaan persekutuan di Malaysia dapat mengatasi pemisahan kuasa yang dibentuk secara perlembagaan dengan menumpukan kepada bidang pendidikan Islam. Jadual Kesembilan dan Artikel 3 Perlembagaan Malaysia menetapkan bahawa setiap negeri mempunyai kuasa yang meluas untuk mentadbir hal ehwal Melayu dan Islam dalam batasnya sendiri, di mana pendidikan Islam adalah sebahagian daripadanya, dengan campur tangan yang minimum daripada kerajaan persekutuan. Pada hakikatnya, sejak akhir tahun 1970-an merupakan permulaan gelombang kebangkitan Islam di Malaysia, di mana kerajaan persekutuan telah berusaha keras untuk menyerap banyak sekolah Islam swasta yang bebas sebelum ini berada di bawah kawalannya. Usaha ini termasuk percubaan untuk mendapatkan kawalan ke atas sekolah-sekolah Islam di negeri Kelantan yang telah lama terkenal dengan tradisi pendidikan Islam dan pembangkangan politik mereka terhadap kerajaan persekutuan. Artikel ini berpendapat bahawa kerajaan persekutuan telah berjaya dalam usaha untuk menguasai pendidikan Islam di Kelantan meskipun wujud hubungan tegang yang agak panjang antara negeri itu dengan kerajaan persekutuan di Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya.

Kata kunci: Pendidikan Islam, Kelantan, federalisme, Sekolah Agama Rakyat, Majlis Agama Islam Kelantan

In theory, federalism as a system of governance allows for an evenly balanced power arrangement between the central government and its autonomous component states, formally ascribed by the constitution. In practice, however, such power equilibrium is rarely the case. In Malaysia, the federal system skews heavily in favour of the strong central government despite the clear jurisdictional authority accorded to the states by the constitution. In this article we will illustrate why the central government in Malaysia has been able to transcend this constitutionally designed separation of powers by focusing on Islamic education. The Ninth Schedule and Article 3 of the Malaysian constitution stipulate that each state has the broad authority to administer Malay and Islamic affairs within its own boundary, of which Islamic education is part, with minimal interference from the central government. In reality, since the late 1970s at the onset of the wave of Islamic resurgence in Malaysia the central government has been ramping up effort to absorb many of the previously independent private Islamic schools into its control. This effort includes attempts to gain control over Islamic schools in the state of Kelantan, which is long known for its Islamic education traditions and oppositional politics against the central government. This article argues that the central government has been largely successful in its effort to gain control of Islamic education in Kelantan despite the state's long-time fraught relationship with the central government in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Keywords: Islamic education, Kelantan, federalism, Sekolah Agama Rakyat, Majlis Agama Islam Kelantan

Title: Asal-Usul Perjuangan Masyarakat Sivil Cina di Malaya Tentang Persoalan Perlembagaan Kemerdekaan Terutamanya Persoalan Jus Soli
The Genesis of Malayan Chinese Civil Society's Struggle for Constitutional Equality in Particular Jus Soli
Author: Helen Mu Hung Ting and Chang Yee Siew
Source: Kajian Malaysia 36(2) 113–146, 2018
- Abstract  

Artikel ini merupakan kajian sejarah tentang asal-usul usaha masyarakat sivil Cina memperjuangkan kedudukan mereka dalam negara bangsa Persekutuan Tanah Melayu yang bakal dibentuk. Prinsip asas yang diperjuangkan di sebalik isu-isu yang dibangkitkan seperti kerakyatan, hak istimewa kaum Melayu, bahasa dan budaya merupakan prinsip kesamarataan di antara kaum. Aplikasi seragam prinsip kerakyatan berasaskan jus soli (kelahiran tempatan) yang mewarnai perspektif mereka sering disalah tafsir atau diabaikan oleh sarjanasarjana yang semata-mata menyifatkan mereka sebagai ekstremis atau chauvinis. Dalam pensejarahan aliran perdana, perspektif negara bangsa masyarakat Cina seringkali dikaitkan dengan Malayan Chinese Association (MCA). Namun perspektif negara bangsa yang akhirnya didukung oleh MCA semasa penggubalan Perlembagaan Persekutuan sebenarnya tidak membayangkan keseluruhan aspirasi komuniti Cina. Sebaliknya, kekhuatiran tentang kelemahan kepimpinan tertinggi MCA untuk mempertahankan kepentingan komuniti Cina telah mencetuskan usaha tokoh-tokoh masyarakat Cina untuk menyatupadukan suara komuniti Cina di luar kerangka politik MCA demi memperjuangkan aspirasi mereka terhadap Perlembagaan kemerdekaan. Satu perhimpunan besar dengan wakil-wakil persatuan Cina dari seluruh persekutuan diadakan di Stadium Chin Woo, Kuala Lumpur pada 27 April 1956. Empat tuntutan yang diluluskan untuk diserahkan kepada Suruhanjaya Perlembagaan Reid telah mendapat pengesahan daripada 1,094 pertubuhan Cina di seluruh negara. Artikel ini menyelami konteks dan proses spesifik yang mendorong penganjuran perhimpunan tersebut serta peranan masing-masing yang dimainkan oleh tokoh-tokoh yang digelar "the Big Four" pada bulan Mac dan April 1956. Peristiwa ini menandakan kebangkitan kesedaran dalam kalangan komuniti Cina untuk memperjuangkan kedudukan di Tanah Melayu yang merdeka dan aspirasi terhadap suatu bentuk "multicultural nation". Walaupun tidak berjaya dalam usaha mereka, pertempuran di antara perspektif negara bangsa yang berlainan ini terus mencorakkan bentuk politik etnik selepas kemerdekaan. Sumber maklumat yang digunakan adalah keratan akhbar The Straits Times, The Singapore Free Press dan Nanyang Siang Pau, dokumen kolonial rasmi, dokumen terpilih dalam Koleksi Tan Cheng Lock di Arkib Negara dan Koleksi H.S. Lee di ISEAS Singapura, serta memoir Lim Lian Geok.

Kata kunci: jus soli, kewarganegaraan, perundingan antara etnik, "Big Four," Tunku Abdul Rahman

This article is a historical study of the genesis of the struggle of the Chinese civil society for their place in an independent Federation of Malaya. The fundamental principle underlining their concern for various issues was the principle of equality. Equal application of the principle of nationality by right of birth (jus soli) was a central issue, yet most scholars either misunderstood or ignored the issue and labelled them simply as extremists or chauvinists. In the mainstream historiography, the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) was regarded as representative of the Chinese community then. Nonetheless, the Alliance intercommunal compromise in the Federal Constitution fell short of the aspiration of the Chinese community. In fact, it was the concern over the inability of the highest MCA leadership to defend the interests of the Chinese community that had caused a split in MCA and triggered the efforts to unite outside the MCA. A national rally attended by delegates of Chinese associations took place at Chin Woo Stadium, Kuala Lumpur on 27 April 1956. The four demands that were approved to be submitted to the Reid Constitutional Commission received endorsement from 1,094 Chinese associations throughout the federation. This article examines the specific context and process which had brought about the mass rally, as well as the respective role played by specific Chinese leaders in March and April 1956. This event marked an awakening of the Chinese community to struggle for a place in an independent Malaya and their aspiration for a multicultural form of nation. Despite their lack of success in getting their demands met, this struggle over differring nationviews continue to shape the post-independence ethnic politics. Sources used include newspaper cuttings from The Straits Times, The Singapore Free Press and Nanyang Siang Pau among others, official colonial documents, documents from Tan Cheng Lock Collection in Arkib Negara and H.S. Lee Collection in ISEAS Singapore as well as the memoirs of Lim Lian Geok.

Keywords: jus soli, citizenship, interethnic negotiations, the "Big Four," Tunku Abdul Rahman

Research Note

Title: Penang's Hajj Heritage: An Oral History of the Sea Transportation Era
Author: Mahani Musa, Aiza Maslan and Hajar Abdul Rahim
Source: Kajian Malaysia 36(2) 147–164, 2018
- Abstract  

For almost 200 years, from 1786 until 1977, Penang (also known as Pulau Pinang) was the embarkation point for hajj pilgrims from Malaya and other countries in the region, notably Siam (Thailand) and the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). Its vibrant port enabled Penang to become a major centre for ocean going ships and transportation of hajj pilgrims. This long history only came to an end in 1977 when air transport took over the role of ships in transporting pilgrims to the holy land. Although stories of transportation and management of hajj pilgrims who travelled by sea to Mecca have appeared in official records, other aspects of this important era of Penang's hajj heritage remain unknown. The experiences, stories and memories of the pilgrims (men, women and children), hajj agents, health inspector, port police officer, local inhabitants, and others who were involved directly and indirectly in the hajj enterprise in Penang, have never been documented or made known to the public. Hence, the current hajj heritage project which sets out to bridge the lacunae in our knowledge of this important era of Penang's hajj heritage.

Keywords: Penang, oral history, hajj, heritage, community engagement