Ungku Aziz's Perspective on Development


This paper explores some key insights and lessons from Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz bin Ungku Abdul Hamid (born 1929 – present), a celebrated academician in Malaysia, on development. Drawing from Ungku Aziz’s main articles, papers and books, the paper attempts to make wider connections with regards to Ungku Aziz’s endeavour in development. This paper sheds new light and draw lessons on the meaning of ‘development’ and its implications to the Muslim community. The main finding indicated that Ungku Aziz had creatively interpreted ‘development’ geared towards the needs of the local community away from the Western-centric notion and ideals. It is not mere imitation of modern Western conception of ‘development’, nor is it a wholesale rejection of it, but it is a creative interpretation that takes into consideration the economic realities and spiritual, social and cultural well being of the local community. This study also revealed that the Ungku Aziz’s conception of ‘development’ has significant relationship with the right theological and civilizational interpretation of the religion of Islam. This paper contends that Ungku Aziz’s conception of ‘development’ should be expanded further using the right religious and civilizational framework as part of the continuous civilizing process of the Muslim world.