• The Securitisation of Sea Gypsies in Sabah, Malaysia

    Indo-Pacific Maritime Hour (via Zoom) -- 12:00 (NY) 19:00 (SG20:00 (JST) 31 August 2021

    YCAPS will host a discussion with Dr. Sanen Marshall, a Senior Lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah with strong academic and on-the-ground expertise on the Bajau Laut community. The ethnic Bajau Laut or Sea Gypsy community of East Coast of Sabah, Malaysia, is a community that has gained fame all over the world through the depiction of their heroics on social media. Bajau Laut families spends most of their time on board narrow, wooden boats called lepa and have been navigating the Sulu Sea for centuries, from the time of the Sulu Sultanate of the ancient Malay world. Yet today the famed ‘Sea Gypsies’ are facing challenges that will ultimately determine whether they are able to continue their traditional way of life or are forced to give it up. These challenges include social stigma, religious conversion, arrest, and deportation among others. The securitization of Sabah’s East Coast after the notorious Royal Sulu Army attack on Lahad Datu (2013) also poses a huge maritime and coastal challenge to their way of life. The future of a community

    that does not have national identification documents in Sabah is also bleak. This talk narrates the challenges facing the Bajau Laut from the perspective of human security. In order to make the most of the hour, participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance to info@ycaps.org.


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    Sanen Marshall, Ph.D (Nottingham) is a researcher in politics, a Senior Lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah and a Fulbright Scholar (2017). He speaks the Bajau Laut language and has spent years researching the Bajau Laut communities of Kota Kinabalu and Semporna, Malaysia. Sanen is currently involved in a consultancy project with a UNICEF/EU funded initiative to resolved the problem of street children, many of whom are individuals from the Bajau Laut community. His other projects include reviving the art of mat-making among the Bajau Laut. Sanen has also spent a lot of time studying reports and making first-hand observations of the arrest, detention and deportation processes involving stateless persons in Sabah.



    Format: This event will be off-the-record.
    Moderator: Dr. Asyura Salleh
    Webinar Cost: Free of charge

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