Diversity and Integration in Malaysian Organizations: A Review

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The racial conflicts of the past have taught Malaysians a lot about the importance of racial integration and the need to accommodate diversity. Diversity could be an asset – but if improperly managed, could also lead to conflict and disaster. The bloody episodes on May 13th, 1969; the Kampung Rawa incident in 1998; the Kampung Medan atrocity in 2001; and many other smaller incidents were events that had happened in Malaysia as a result of a lack of tolerance in accommodating ethnic diversities. These incidents have tarnished the good name of Malaysia despite being well-known for its peacefulness and rich cultural diversities. Although these crises and conflicts were notorious, they were small and occurred only in certain locations; unlike the catastrophes that had befallen Bosnia, Iraq, Somalia and many other nations in Africa and other parts of the world. Widespread conflicts like those characterized by the abovementioned, if not properly checked and managed, can ultimately lead to bigger conflicts that could escalate to entire regions. To further understand how such untoward incidents are prevented from recurring, it would be interesting to find out how the Malaysian government and pertinent NGO’s work in their attempts to facilitate and improve integration and accommodate diversity in the organizational context. This study reviews various literatures (journal articles, books, government documents, selected newspaper cuttings, and etc.) to uncover various efforts (such as social contracts, new economic policy, vision 2020, national service and various other efforts) undertaken by the Malaysian government to promote integration and manage diversities of various aspects (including gender, ethnic, religious and other special groups). Other than the widely known factors that have been identified to have an inhibitory effect on integration (such as a lack of understanding of Malaysian history and the importance of integration and accommodating diversity), unclear government policies have also been discovered to have had a direct effect on the integrating process. Just as well, factors that assist integration and encourage the acceptance of diversity have also been identified, suggesting future research directions in areas of integration and diversity that would help in augmenting the understanding of how to properly manage diversity. It is also expected that findings from this study will help provide a good source of introduction into the issue of racial integration and diversity in Malaysia.

Keywords: Racial Conflict, Integration, Diversity, Ethnic Diversity, Multi Racial, Plural Society, Multiracial, Racial Tolerance, Accomodate Diversity
Stream: Identity and Belonging; the Politics of Diversity; Globalisation
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Shahren Ahmad Zaidi Adruce

Dean, Faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Shahren graduated from Syracuse University (SU) in 2004 with a Doctoral degree in Information Transfer and a Certificate in University Teaching. Between the year 2000 and 2004, he was engaged by SU as an adjunct lecturer, teaching undergraduate students and later entrusted to teach graduate students at the school of Information Studies. For being active in student’s organization and works on managing diversities, he was awarded with the Best Organizational Leadership award during the 1997 SU night of stars. After a ten years stint in the US, he returned to Malaysia and joined University Malaysia Sarawak as a lecturer and dean of the faculty of Cognitive Science and Human Development. His research interest includes: human factor, user behavior, organizational culture, diversity and integration, digital divide, learning sciences and organizational knowledge Management.

Mohamad Mazlan Anis

Officer, Ministry of Tourism
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Ref: D08P0277