Colleagues’ Choice Award – Humanities
Abdur-Razzaq Lubis, Sutan Puasa: Founder of Kuala Lumpur. Areca Books, 2018.
The visionary Sutan Puasa developed Pangkalan Lumpur (a Mandailing trading post at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers) into a multicultural town, attracting Sumatran and Hakka Chinese miners and traders. He was among the adventurers and refugees who emigrated to Malaya in the aftermath of the Padri War (1803-1845). The post-Padri Mandailing and Rawa diaspora became embroiled in a succession of civil wars. Among the multitude of battlegrounds, the war was ultimately decided by the Battle of Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur’s strategic location destined it to become the capital, first of Selangor, then of the Federated Malay States, and finally, of Malaysia itself.
Colleagues’ Choice Award – Social Sciences
Azmil Tayeb, Islamic Education in Indonesia and Malaysia: Shaping Minds, Saving Souls. Routledge, 2018.
The post-colonial state in Malaysia has been more successful in centralising its control over Islamic education, and is more concerned with promoting a restrictive orthodoxy, compared to the post-colonial state in Indonesia. This is thanks to the state institutions that oversee Islamic education; patterns of societal Islamisation that have prompted different responses; and control of resources by the central government that influences centre-periphery relations. These factors help a state to minimize influence from society and exert its dominance, in this case by centralising control over Islamic education. Specifically, they help us understand the markedly different landscapes of Islamic education in Malaysia and Indonesia.