IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Arab Spring Through Malaysian Youth ‘Eyes’: Knowledge, Perceptions and Influences


  • Saidin Mohd Irwan Syazli

    (School of History, Politics and Strategy, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia)


This paper examines the attitude of Malaysian youth towards the ‘Arab Spring’ events in the Middle East and North Africa. In particular, it explores the knowledge and perceptions of a selected young generation in Malaysia towards the ‘Arab Spring’ as well as considering how the events influence their attitudes towards regime change, democracy and political stability. The major involvement of Malaysian youth in a series of mass protests (“BERSIH”) against the ruling government, were perceived by numerous local and foreign journalists as an attempt to create a “Malaysian Spring”. However, there have been strong opinions voiced by the Malaysian authorities suggesting that there was no basis for presuming an ‘Arab Spring’ impact in the context of the Malaysian experience. This raises the question of the relationship between the ‘Arab Spring’ and Malaysian youth. In so doing, both quantitative and qualitative methods were applied through a questionnaire based-survey involving 607 respondents as well as 10 in-depth interviews with selected Malaysian youth leaders. The outcome of this research shows that a number of youth believing that they were inspired by the acts of mass street protests during the ‘Arab Spring’. However, the fear of political instability which is currently evident in the post-Arab Spring led to some respondents favouring political stability rather than regime change. Overall, this empirical research found that the majority of Malaysian youth are supportive of a free and democratic election as a relevant medium for political change, rather than overthrowing the current regime via civil disobedience.

Suggested Citation

  • Saidin Mohd Irwan Syazli, 2018. "The Arab Spring Through Malaysian Youth ‘Eyes’: Knowledge, Perceptions and Influences," Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, Sciendo, vol. 9(1), pages 121-135, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:mjsosc:v:9:y:2018:i:1:p:121-135:n:12

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:vrs:mjsosc:v:9:y:2018:i:1:p:121-135:n:12. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.