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ItemTraditionalism and the ascendancy of the Malay ruling class in colonial Malaya( 1996)Backward, traditional, and feudal have been common descriptions of Malay society through much of the twentieth century. In a broad sense, I will ask how that judgment became so common. More specifically, I will explore how a traditional ruling class under British colonial rule “creates a world after its own image.” In trying to survive colonialism, the Malay ruling class successfully universalized its image and interests onto an entire society and left that society ill equipped, in the early years of independence, to understand itself as capable of change. It was this legacy that Mahathir denounced and this era that, despite his theoretical forbearance towards the feudal remnants, he would do much to end.