Communal Solidarity in Malaysia: The Practice and Challenges of Community Mediation

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Melati WAN, SEGi University, Malaysia, Malaysia
This paper highlights the practice of community mediation in Malaysia. Community mediation is a powerful mechanism that enables community leaders to manage conflict, especially in a collectivistic society such as Malaysia. Various efforts have been done by clinical sociologists in Malaysia over the years to equip community leaders with mediation skills throughout the country. The 20-steps guide and module developed have been useful to promote and maintain social stability. Among the aspects covered in this paper include, periodic training of selected community leaders as well as the monthly case conferences for mediators in different states. Though the role of community mediators have been recognized by the mediators, community leaders, policy makers, and members of the society, challenges faced by community mediators at micro, meso and macro levels cannot be ignored. Among the reported challenges include technical or process error, commitment issues, lip-service support and power struggle especially between mediators and other authorities. Since each community contains varied members in terms of its economic standing, educational background, racial and ethnic membership and political affiliation, this paper focuses on the practice of community mediation in one neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is hoped that this case study would not only shed light on what clinical sociologists can and should do, but able to provide recommendations well as suggestions to further overcome the challenges of community mediators.