‘Masuk Melayu’ in The Context of Conversion to Islam


  • Asiyah az-Zahra Ahmad Kumpoh Universiti Brunei Darussalam


Masuk Melayu, religious conversion, Islam, ethnic boundaries, Brunei Darussalam


By employing Wimmer’s (2008) four dimensions of variation of ethnic boundaries, this study discusses the factors and conditions that lead to the existence of the ‘Masuk Melayu’ identity in Brunei Darussalam. The interview data collected from 56 informants suggest that the high degree of cultural differentiation, social closure and political salience in the 1960s and 1980s highlights the ‘Masuk Melayu’ identity of the converts. However when the degree of these dimensions was lowered in the 1990s onwards due to the socio-cultural transformations following Brunei’s independence in 1984, this study has found that the ‘Masuk Melayu’ identity did not occur during the period. This study also suggests that the fourth dimension, generational stability, has no impact on the ‘Masuk Melayu’ identity due to the converts’ unchallenged recognition of their kinship and personal networks