chapter  6
18 Pages

Reviving Malay connections in Southeast Asia


In the ethnic Malay diaspora across Southeast Asia, a unified identity is being promoted to increase socio-economic development, and to protect what many Malays see as a culture endangered by modernization. This chapter discusses one example which emerged after the fall of Indonesia’s centralistic and nationalistic Suharto government. At that time, some Malay politicians and intellectuals from the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan began building a transnational network for business, cultural and educational collaborations based on their shared identity as Pan-Malay or ‘one Malay stock’ (serumpun). At the leading edge of this is an organization known as the Malay Islamic World Movement (Dunia Melayu Dunia Islam or DMDI).2 This has been led by the Chief Minister of Melaka in Malaysia, and the then Vice President of the United Malays National Organisation party (UMNO), Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam. The position of Vice President of DMDI, on the other hand, has been filled by ethnic Malays from outside Malaysia to show Malay solidarity across the world.3