Main Article Content
In this latest issue of IAIS Malaysia’s flagship journal, Islam and Civilisational Renewal (ICR), I have the honour of presenting five new substantive articles, all with actionable policy recommendations, in addition to four viewpoints and five event reports. As always, our expert contributors have succeeded in crafting a unique body of work, characterised by honest scholarship, depth of learning and originality of thought.
Maszlee Malik, an Assistant Professor at the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) and well-known political commentator, contributes our lead article, ‘Rethinking the Role of Islam in Malaysian Politics: A Case Study of Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH).’ Since its creation in 2015, AMANAH has portrayed itself as the bearer of a new, moderate and inclusive brand of Islam. Drawing upon interviews with AMANAH’s party membership, however, Maszlee questions the extent to which this ‘new discourse’ is consistently and coherently adhered to across the party. The article ends with the following policy recommendations: 1) AMANAH urgently needs to ‘culturise’ its inclusive Islamic discourse; 2) to make its voice heard within Malaysia, AMANAH must demonstrate that Islam promotes good conduct and civility as a means of ensuring that diversity nurtures peace and prosperity; 3) AMANAH must appeal to non-Muslims as well as Muslims by demonstrating that Islam does not side-line non-Muslim needs and interests; 4) since the Malaysian public currently distrusts AMANAH’s objectives and direction, the party must invest in reputation building, management initiatives and strategic communication; and 5) AMANAH must look beyond ideological concerns and champion everyday socioeconomic issues in order to mobilise everyday voters.