|Syed Farid Alatas is the Head of Malay Studies at the National University of Singapore|
Syed Farid, the head of Malay Studies at the National University of Singapore, argued that the popularisation of Arabic culture among members of the Malay community, risked displacing certain elements of Malay culture as we know it today.
“Malays who wear robes, white kopiahs and Malay clothing are shunned. This will create a problem for Malay culture and Bahasa Melayu,” he said during a dialogue yesterday entitled “Is Arabisation Salafi or Wahhabi?"
Syed Farid said however that Arabisation was not a problem in terms of Islam.
Fellow panelist and social activist Marina Mahathir also questioned if Malay culture was not on par with Arabic culture.
“It’s human nature to follow culturally better ways,” Marina said.
“But if we assume that our culture is backwards…this becomes a problem. If we keep taking in Arabic cultural aspects, does this mean that our culture is not on par with it?”