Sustaining of Hakka Identity in Malaysia

Case study of Four Hakka Settlements

Researchers: Wang Xiao Mei Lee Kam Hing Fan Pik Shy Fan Pik Wah Lee Poh Ping Danny Wong Tze KenDing Seong Lin

Duration: 01 Jun 2012 - 31 Dec 2016

The Hakka community is the second largest dialect group within the Malaysian Chinese community. Its population is estimated to be 1.5 million or so, accounting for 23.5% of the total Malaysian Chinese population. The community was a major force within the community and country.  Due to the lack of understanding of the various ethnic groups of one another’s distinctiveness, ethnic groups tend to be seen as homogenous entities. Therefore the study of the evolving characteristic of Hakka community which as a Chinese sub-group will become crucial. There are significant differences within each ethnic group and these are evolving and transforming even as they interact with the different sub-groups and the larger society.  These differences and changes need to be recognized and understood if there is to be a greater affirmation of our ethnic diversity.

This project is an attempt to examine the evolving characteristics of the Hakka community so that a model and approach will find out and achieve the understanding of the formation of the larger Chinese community in Malaysia. This project proposes that the formation of ethnic groups in Malaysia is a constant evolving process that involves interactions between the various forces – including a great deal of internal dynamics, and in the case of the Malaysian Chinese, the roles and importance of the sub-ethnic groups such as the Hakka in Malaysia would be crucial in understanding the due processes – of interactions between Hakka sub-group with the larger Malaysian Chinese Society as well as the state.