M. Zaki Mubarak(1*), Mohamad Zaini Abu Bakar(2)
(1) Universiti Sains Malaysia
(2) Universiti Sains Malaysia
(*) Corresponding Author
DOI : 10.22515/ajpif.v15i1.1292


This study explains the role and strategy of the government in Malaysia in the era of Mahathir Mohammad and Indonesia during the Soeharto era, in facing their Islamists group opposition. In the early days of power, the two regimes used more of an iron cage to defeat their political enemies. Mahathir fought with the increasingly radical PAS (Parti Al-Islam Se-Malaysia) force since the early 1980s, while Suharto from the early 1970s faced extreme Islamic groups. If Mahathir still leaves spaces for competition, Suharto does not want to compromise. But in its development, the two regimes have chosen a softer strategy by playing 'cards' Islam with the dual purposes: co-opting opponents and building a better image as an Islamic regime. Therefore, the political project of Islamization by Mahathir and Suharto cannot be separated from the challenges of domestic political contestation and the search for new legitimacy. Both of these Islamic political projects ended differently. The fall of the Soeharto regime in 1998 due to the monetary crisis and democratic reforms, has put an end to all the political projects he has designed. In contrast, the Mahathir regime survived in facing a similar crisis. Therefore, its pro-Islam policy continues in Malaysia although not as aggressive as the previous period.


Iron Cage, Political Contestation, Political Islam


Alatas, Syed Farid. Democracy and Authoritarianism in Indonesia and Malaysia. London: Macmillan Press, 1997.

Bresnan, John. Managing Indonesia: The Modern Political Economy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

Castells, Manuel. The Power of Identity. 2 edition. United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Effendi, Bahtiar. Islam dan Negara: Transformasi Pemikiran dan Praktik Politik di Indonesia. Jakarta: Paramadina dan PPIM, 2009.

Elson, R.E. The Idea of Indonesia: Sejarah Pemikiran dan Gagasan. Jakarta: Serambi, 2009.

Geddes, Barbara. Politician’s Dilemma: Building State Capacity in Latin America. Barkeley: University California Press, 1994.

Hadi, Syamsul. Strategi Pembangunan Mahathir dan Soeharto. Jakarta: Pelangi Cendekia, 2005.

Harper, T. N. The End of Empire and the Making of Malaya. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Hefner, Robert W. Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Hefner, Robert W. Hefner (editor). Remaking Muslim Politics: Pluralism, Contestation, Democratization. Princeton: Princetoun University Press, 2005.

Heryanto, Ariel dan Sumit K. Mandal (editor). Menggugat Otoriterisme di Asia Tenggara: Perbandingan dan Pertautan antara Indonesia dan Malaysia. Jakarta: Gramedia, 2004.

Hilmy, Masdar. Islam and Democracy in Indonesia: Piety and Pragmatism. Singapore: ISEAS, 2010.

James, Piscastori & Eickelman, Dale F. Muslim Politics. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Lee, Julian C.H. Islamization and Activism in Malaysia. Singapore: ISEAS, 2010.

Liow, Chinyong Joseph. Piety and Politics: Islamism in Contemporary Malaysia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Mackie, Jamie. “Patrimonialism: The New Order and Beyond” in Edward Aspinal and Greg Fealy. Soeharto’s New Order and Its Legacy. Australia: Asian Studies Series Monograph 2 ANU, 2010.

Mauzy, Diane K. & Milne, R.S. Malaysian Politics under Mahathir. London-New York: Routledge,1999.

McAdam, Doug, Siney Tarrow, and Charles Tilly. “Comparative Perspectives on Contentious Politics” dalam Mark Irving Licbach and Alan S. Zuckerman. Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Mietzner, Marcus. Military Politics, Islam, and the State in Indonesia: From Turbulent Transitions to Democratic Consolidation. Singapore: ISEAS, 2009.

Motten, Abdul Rashid (editor). Government and Politics in Malaysia. Malaysia: Cengage Learning, 2012.

Mubarak, M. Zaki. Genealogi Islam Radikal di Indonesia: Gerakan, Pemikiran, dan Prospek Demokrasi. Jakarta: LP3ES, 2008.

Nasr, Seyyed Vali Reza. Islamic Leviathan: Islam and the Making of State Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Noor, Farish A. The Malaysian Islamic Party PAS 1951-2013: Islamism in Mottled Nation. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013.

Pelets, Michael G. “Islam and The Cultural Politics of Legitimacy: Malaysia in The Aftermarth of September 11” in Robert W. Hefner (editor). Remakin Muslim Politics: Pluralism, Contestation and Democratization. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.

Porter, Donald J. Managing Politics and Islam in Indonesia. London: Routledge, 2002.

Ramage, Douglas. Politics in Indonesia: Democracy, Islam, and the Ideology of Tolerance. London: Routledge, 1995.

Said, Salim Haji. Menyaksikan 30 tahun Pemerintahan Otoriter Soeharto. Bandung: Mizan, 2016.

Tarrow, Sidney G. Power in Movement: Social Movement and Contentious Politics. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Wain, Barry. Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohammad in Turbulent Times. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Way, Lucan & Levitsky, Steven. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrids Regime after the Cold War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Yamin, Moh. Naskah Persiapan Undang-Undang Dasar I-III. Jakarta: Jajasan Prapanca, 1959.

Yusoff, Ismail. Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz: Pemikiran Agama dan Politik. Malaysia: University Utara Malaysia Press, 2015.

Article Statistic

Abstract view : 59 times