Ethnic Relations and Islam in the Federal Constitution: An Analysis on the Malaysian University Students’ Perceptions

By Nazri Muslim, Rozita Ibrahim, Ahmad Hidayat Buang, Zaharah Hassan and Abdul Latif Samian.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper presents the findings from quantitative research on Malaysian university students’ perceptions on Islam in the Federal Constitution. Most of the studies on the Malaysia’s Federal Constitution, thus far, have concentrated on the legal, historical and political aspects. Hence, this study provides a new perspective by investigating the everyday social reality of the constitution as understood by the Malaysian public. This study focuses on an aspect that is crucial in the Malaysian multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, i.e. the status of Islam as the official religion as stipulated in the Federal Constitution. A total number of 800 respondents from four local public universities participated in this study. Data gathered from the questionnaires were analysed using the statistical package SPSS. Descriptive statistics, i.e. frequency, percentage, mean, cross-tabulation and correlation coefficient, were utilised to describe the respondents’ background and to evaluate the levels of knowledge, understanding and acceptance on the status of Islam in the Federal Constitution. The findings indicate that the levels of knowledge, understanding and acceptance are generally high. However, there are significant differences in the levels of knowledge, understanding and acceptance across different ethnic groups and educational backgrounds.

Keywords: Ethnic Relations, Malaysia, Islam, Federal Constitution, Higher Education

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 9, pp.305-320. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 809.238KB).

Nazri Muslim

Lecturer, Centre for General Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Nazri Muslim is a Lecturer at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Rozita Ibrahim

Senior Lecturer, Centre for General Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Rozita Ibrahim is a Senior Lecturer at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Prof. Dr. Ahmad Hidayat Buang

Professor, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dr. Ahmad Hidayat Buang is a Professor at the University of Malaya.

Dr. Zaharah Hassan

Associate Professor, Centre for General Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Dr. Zaharah Hassan is an Associate Professor at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Prof. Dr. Abdul Latif Samian

Professor, Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Dr. Abdul Latif Samian is a Professor at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

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