senator, professor, activist, scholar, and author.
Bangsa Melayu: Malay Concepts of Democracy and Community 1945–1950 by Ariffin Omar. Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: Strategic Information and Research Development Centre. Second revised edition, 2015.
First edition published by Oxford University Press, 1993.
Available in print.
Ariffin Omar is presently a Senator in the Malaysian Parliament. Born in 1949, he is from Penang. He obtained his PhD at the Australian National University in 1990, and has taught at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Utara Malaysia and the National Defence University of Malaysia, and was a visiting Fulbright Fellow at the University of Utah, USA in 1998. He was also a founding member of Aliran Kesedaran Negara, a reform movement dedicated to justice, freedom and solidarity. He is the author of Revolusi Indonesia dan Bangsa Melayu (1999) and edited a volume on The Bumiputra Policy: Dynamics and Dilemmas (2004). Now based at the Penang Institute, his research focuses on nation, nationalism, ethnic relations and religious freedom.
In an interview with Penang Monthly magazine (August 2015) on the publication of the second edition of Bangsa Melayu after a hiatus of more than twenty years, Ariffin Omar is asked, "how has thinking about race and Malayness brought you to reflect on politics in this country?"
Ariffin replied: "I see the link we have between race and politics as a big disadvantage. The moment you see yourself as belonging to a race, you start thinking in terms of “us” against “them”.Then what happens to the idea of a nation-state? Or nationality? These are the realities we have to face, and the trouble is that a situation where politics is based on race can lead to (uneven) power and corruption. So we have a situation where power is based on dominance and privileges, and unfortunately that is used and misused by many. And this to me is a real disgrace and a disaster for the country. We cannot continue like this."