The influence of culture on Malay business practice: a case study of Malaysia with special reference to the State of Kelantan Darul Naim

Ahmad, Muhammad Bin (2010). The influence of culture on Malay business practice: a case study of Malaysia with special reference to the State of Kelantan Darul Naim. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This research examined the influence of Islam and culture on the Malay-Muslim business environment as observed in the Siti Khadijah Market of Kota Bharu, in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. It followed a qualitative research approach involving library research and a field study. The cultural influences on the Malays were reviewed through three historically distinct phases i.e. the traditionally primitive Pagan, Hindu and Islam, all of which have been dominant culture-spiritual feeders. Other influences have also come from the period of British Colonisation in Malaya in the 18th and 20th Century. All of these influences were examined, dissected and discussed in order to provide a describable entity of the Malay culture and its possible origins. The various definitions of the Malays were also given due attention followed by historical evidence of trade. These economic connections dated back to pre-colonial periods to the times of the Portuguese, Dutch and, recently, the British. The presence of Islam in Malaysia was first looked at from the dates and the process of the arrival of Islam into the Malay Archipelago. Indeed, the arrival process and how it became a dominant religion in the Malay Archipelago have been a subject of a long debate and was also given an empirical attention. Despite the strong mixture influence, the state of being Malays i.e. the “Malayness” of this people appeared to have oddly strengthened by only two central pillars: Islam as a religious and universal pillar, and the Malay customary laws or the Adat as the locally embedded moral entity. The research further looked at how traders within the environs of the Malays deal, tolerate and involve themselves within the interplays of Islamic teachings and the culture. Later, the research focused on understanding the issue of how the mixture of different cultures influenced the behaviour of business people in the Siti Khadijah Market where much of the study was carried out. As expected, the behaviour of the businesspeople in the market was dominantly influenced by Islam, both in belief and practices. Other cultural influences, however, never ceased to exist and still remained despite somewhat being slowly eroded. In conclusion, the adherence of Malay-Muslims to their religious values have kept them well guided in their business dealings. Finally the research suggested some areas in which further studies could be carried out, either using similar theoretical framework or otherwise.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc


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