The Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) of Malaysia: Communitarianism Across Borders?
Farish Ahmad Noor
Date of Issue2008
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
One of the consequences of the Islamisation process in Malaysia from the 1980s is the entry of religion into the public domain of mainstream politics. Malaysia has witnessed the growth and expansion of a parallel religious civil space with more Muslim NGOs and lobby groups coming to the fore. The formation of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) marks a new expression of religious based politics and social mobilization among new expression of religious based politics and social mobilization among Malaysia’s minority Hindu community along ethnic-religious lines. This paper examines the recent development of Hindraf in Malaysia and its impact on the country’s complex plural and sectarian landscape. It analyses the ways through which Hindraf has managed to carve a space for Malaysians Hindu minority while also forging links with the global Hindu community worldwide. It also raises questions about how Hindraf may also add another challenge to Malaysian politics that is already configured along sectarian lines, and what such a movement can do towards further normalising the penetration of religion into the public sphere. Finally it ends with some observation on Hindraf’s role and impact on the election results of March 2008.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science
RSIS Working Papers, 163-08
Nanyang Technological University