Psychological Barrier and Religio-Cultural Diversity: The Case of Malaysia

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As a pluralistic society, Malaysia consists of people from various religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds who live together and share the same space in their public, social, political, cultural, economic and other daily affairs. Because of this background, a good and harmony relationship is something that crucially needs to be consistently upheld bearing the fact that to foster a better relation between people of different cultural and religious background is not an easy and straightforward task. It needs more than just a knowing-each-other kind of relationship. Instead, it has to be a relationship nurtured within the various religious and cultural groups and communities through inculcating a deeper sense of understanding, the feeling of reciprocity, togetherness and sharing of common values. Religious and cultural differences are often seen as among the factors that bring about misunderstandings. Notwithstanding the continuous process of socialization especially in the public spheres, there are certain elements of psychological barrier that hinder and/or become obstacles to social integration. These psychological barriers include stereotype, prejudice and other negative psychological perceptions developed peculiarly in a certain community. This paper deals with some of the psychological barriers that generally occur among various communities in Malaysian society, their causes, and impacts on integration. It will also discuss and perhaps suggest some of the practical ways to eliminate or at least reduce these psychological barriers and create a better relationship among Malaysian society.


Keywords: Malaysia, Psychological Barrier, Religio-Cultural Diversity
Stream: Identity and Belonging; the Politics of Diversity; Globalisation
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Zaid Ahmad

Head of Department, Dept of Government and Civilization Studies
Faculty of Human Ecology
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia

Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

Associate professor and Head of The Department of Government and Civilization Studies, Faculty of Human Ecology, University Putra Malaysia. He was a visiting scholar at The Religious Studies Department, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand in 2003. He is also contributor and co-editor of Inter-Ethnic Relations in Malaysia: Selected Readings, Serdang: Penerbit Universiti Putra Malaysia, 2006

Dr. Haslinda Abdullah

Lecturer, Department of Social Science and Development
Faculty of Human Ecology
43400 Serdang Selangor Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia

Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

A trained psychologist and currently lecturer in the department of Social Science and Development. She obtained her doctorate from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Her research interest include organization and industrial psychology, occupational health, Islamic and social psychology

Ref: D08P0289