In the late twentieth century, the Chinese communities in Indonesia and Malaysia were politically repressed. But recent events have prompted optimism that the Chinese communities in both countries could move forward and claim their rightful place as equal citizens. But while the Indonesian Chinese community appears to have made some headway, the situation in Malaysia has not improved, and in some ways, it is worse. We argue that institutional frameworks and political Islam are the main threats to political rights for the Chinese communities in both countries and that there are lessons to be learned from these neighboring nations.

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