Arabs in the urban social landscapes of Malaysia: historical connections and belonging

Sumit K. Mandal

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The urban landscapes of Malaysia have witnessed a marked increase in the number of non-citizens with the influx of foreign workers to satisfy the needs of a rapidly expanding economy. This paper examines how notions of belonging might have changed through the subsequent interaction between citizens and non-citizens in the Klang Valley, the political and economic centre of the country. It focuses specifically on Arab migrants who find themselves in a region – the Malay world – with which they have had historical connections. Arabs, primarily from the Hadramaut in Yemen, have long formed creole communities in the region. Recent Arab migrants have arrived at a time of two noteworthy developments. First, there is a rediscovery of Arabness underway among creoles. Second, Malaysia's ethnically diverse citizenry has seen renewed and heightened challenges, based on historical arguments, to its sense of belonging. By focusing on novel migrants with historical connections, this paper relates the question of belonging to history and asks a number of questions. How are Arabs shaping the social landscape? How do the historical connections between Arabs and the Malay world matter? What are the implications of the new Arab presence for Malaysian society as a whole?

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)807-822
    Number of pages16
    JournalCitizenship Studies
    Volume18
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2014

    Fingerprint

    Arab
    Malaysia
    migrant worker
    migrant
    valley
    history
    foreign worker
    economics
    Yemen
    world
    citizen
    economy
    interaction
    community
    need
    society
    urban landscape

    Keywords

    • Arabs
    • belonging
    • creole
    • historical connections
    • Malaysia

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

    Arabs in the urban social landscapes of Malaysia : historical connections and belonging. / Mandal, Sumit K.

    In: Citizenship Studies, Vol. 18, No. 8, 17.11.2014, p. 807-822.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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