Has Islam Been Politicised In Malaysia?

IMHO, there's little room for dissent from Islam's harshest rules.

Cover image via TMI

While Malaysia is a multiconfessional country — a country of multiethnic population, which allows worship of any form of God — whose most professed religion is Islam, The Economist believes that Islam has been "thoroughly politicised" by the Malaysian government, "leaving little room for dissent from its harshest rules"

File photo of Muslim protestors displaying a banner during a demonstration against a Malaysian Catholic newspaper using the word 'Allah' at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya in 2014.

Image via Mohd Rasfan/AFP Photo

In an article titled "After Jakarta", which was published on 23 January 2016, the London-based weekly publication reports, citing a 2015 study, that "more than 70% of Malaysia's ethnic-Malay, Muslim, majority support hudud laws such as stoning for adultery. Another found that 11% of Malays viewed IS favourably."

Religious authorities in Malaysia have been promoting an increasingly conservative interpretation of Islam, while the ruling Umno has welcomed a relationship with PAS that seeks to enforce hudud in Kelantan. Umno has also repeatedly demonised the DAP as being anti-Islam.

A survey by local pollster Merdeka Center released in 2014 found that 71 per cent of Malays polled supported the Islamic penal code that imposes punishments like amputation for theft.

A Pew Research Centre study last year on the attitude of Muslims towards IS showed that 11 per cent of Malaysians supported the Muslim militant group that has claimed responsibility over the January 14 bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia, that killed four civilians and four terrorists.

You can read the article in full here. In the meantime, take our poll:

Although the Malay community enjoys special rights and privileges, rising religious fundamentalism and authoritarianism that is creeping into the Malaysian culture has made an increasing number of Malay Muslims to leave the country and look for better alternatives. We wrote about the issue in detail in December 2014.

On the other hand, regardless of whether you believe that Islam has been politicised here or not, the country's so-called democratic system does fall under the category of the flawed democracy

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