The conclusion provides reflections on the idea of pietization and politics after the transition from the Mahathir administration to the Abdullah administration in the government, as well as from the reformist leadership of Fadzil Noor in PAS to the fundamentalist leadership of Abdul Hadi Awang. It discusses the intensification of contested authenticities between UMNO and PAS that these changes heralded. In addition to a careful critical deconstruction of the Islamic discourse and praxis of the main political protagonists, the conclusion draws further attention to the cultural context, meanings, and practices of contemporary Islam in Malaysia, and particularly how these factors interplay with mainstream elite politics encapsulated in the UMNO-PAS “Islamization race.” By listening to the voices of those outside the elite who have responded to the effects of UMNO’s and PAS’s mutually reinforcing Islamist politics, the conclusion further assesses the contributions of society (in contradistinction to the state and the political apparatus, as represented by these dominant political parties) either as an alternative vehicle for or as a buffer against Islamization.
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