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 Malaysia during Mahathir Mohammad era and Indonesia in the Soeharto era in facing their Islamists group opposition. In their early period, these two regimes used an iron cage to defeat their political enemies. Mahathir fought with the power of PAS (Parti Al-Islam Se-Malaysia) which becomes more radical in the early of 1980s; meanwhile, Suharto faced the Islamic extremist groups in the early of 1970s. Mahathir consisted to give enough spaces for competition, Suharto did not want to compromise. In its progress, these two regimes chose softer strategy by playing 'Islamic cards’ due to the double purposes: coopting the opposite and building a better image as an Islamic regime. Hence, the political project of Islamization of Mahathir and Soeharto could not be separated from the problem of domestic political contestation and an effort to look for new legitimacy. Thereby, their Islamic political projects ended differently. Due to the monetary crisis and democratic reforms in 1998 affected the Soeharto regime to step down and make an end to all of the political projects he has designed. On the contrary, the Mahathir regime has successfully survived in facing the similar crisis, so that his pro-Islamic policy has passed off although not as aggressive as in the past. 


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.

Darmawijaya. “Islam Dan Kekuasaan Orde Baru: Membaca Kembali Politik De-Islamisasi Soeharto.” Sosiologi Reflektif 10, no. 1 (2015): 63–84.

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.

Fauzi, Ahmad, Abdul Hamid, and Muhamad Takiyuddin. “Islamist Conservatism and the Demise of Islam Hadhari in Malaysia.” Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. London & New York 25, no. 2 (2014): 159–180. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2014.880549

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.

Kersten, Carool. Islam in Indonesia: The Contest for Society Ideas and Values. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

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.

Menchik, Jeremy. “Islam and Politics in Indonesia: The Masyumi Party between Democracy and Intergralism by Remy Madinier (Review).” Projcet Muse Indonesia, no. 101 (2016): 139–143.

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.

Müller, Dominik M. Islam , Politics and Youth in Malaysia: The Pop-Islamist Reinvention of PAS. New York: Routledge, 2014.

Nawab, Mohamed, and Mohamed Osman. “The Islamic Conservative Turn in Malaysia : Impact and Future Trajectories.” Contemporary Islam (2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11562-016-0373-3.

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.

Nurhasanah. “Politik Kebijakan Islamisasi Mahathir.” Dialog XXXII, no. 68 (2009): 65–77.

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.

Putra, Okrisal Eka. “Hubungan Islam Dan Politik Masa Orde Baru.” Jurnal Dakwah IX, no. 2 (2008): 185–201.

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

Rahmanto, Mukhlis. “Berderma Dan Sejarah Sosial Politik Islam Indonesia.” AFKARUNA, Jurnal Ilmu-Ilmu Keislaman 11, no. 2 (2015): 268–272.

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

Stark, Jan. “Constructing an Islamic Model in Two Malaysian States: PAS Rule in Kelantan and Terengganu.” Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 19, no. 1 (2004): 51–75. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/400296/pdf.

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 : 958 times
PDF views : 835 times

Dimensions Metrics

Article History

Submited : 4 June 2018
Revised : 10 November 2018
Published : 30 June 2018

How To Cite This :


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.