Multiculturalism and its institutional manifestations in Malaysia

  • Claudia Derichs


Institutions in comparative polities can be seen as a variable in the theoretical setting of system comparison. They serve the purpose of structuring the analytical framework, but their impact on the unfolding of certain types of political systems should not be overestimated. Accordingly, comparative politics and its extension to comparative policy analysis in particular, tends to emphasize political processes and procedures instead of focusing exclusively on institutions (von Beyme 1992). In the present paper, I will try to shed a light on institutions and policies, and relate them to the issue of multiculturalism/multiethnicity.1 Apart from the constitution, I will not deal with ‘classical’ examples of political institutions like the bureaucracy, parliament, or political parties. The ethnic and hence cultural element is all too obvious in these institutions, because Malaysian politics in these institutions has always been determined and performed along ethnic communal lines. To get an idea of what the institutional consolidation of multiculturalism can mean beyond the realm of the ‘classical’ political institutions in a multiracial and multiethnic state like Malaysia, I will turn to the policy arena and look at functions of output as well as at outcomes of political decisionmaking.


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  • Claudia Derichs

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