Multiculturalism and higher education in Malaysia

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.


The study of multiculturalism relates to the understanding of various contexts and experiences of diversity. Multiculturalism can be described as a process that is contextualised to a particular country and it involves active management by the respective government. This active management requires a balancing act between respect for differences across society and efforts towards achieving a common ground, which is often translated as the realisation of the national identity. In this paper, we will illustrate the process of multiculturalism in Malaysia by focusing on the development of higher education and its relation to nation building. Our study is based on the review of relevant literature and documents related to the history and development of higher education in Malaysia and its connections to ethnic relation and nation building. In the Malaysian context, multicultural society is often portrayed by the three major ethnic groups namely the Malays, Chinese and Indians. Ethnicity is also an important aspect in the identification of one's religion as well as giving a clue of their affiliated political parties. This paper will highlight the various phases in the development of Malaysian higher education from the colonial times to the current globalisation era. We argue that this long history and negotiation between the government and ethnic groups in the country has provided the context and particularities of Malaysian multiculturalism. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.




Ibrahim, R., Muslim, N., & Buang, A. H. (2011). Multiculturalism and higher education in Malaysia. In Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences (Vol. 15, pp. 1003–1009).

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free