The Federal Constitution: Is Malaysia a Secular State?

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Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil



The discussion on whether Malaysia is an Islamic or secular state has been a much hotly debated topic recently. In the government’s written answer to a question raised by Oscar Ling Chai Yew (DAP-Sibu) at Dewan Rakyat on 16 June 2014, Jamil Khir, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department re-asserted that Malaysia is an Islamic state. This view was supported by Tun Mahathir Mohamad arguing that in an Islamic state like Malaysia, justice applies to all, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This was re-affirmed by Amin Mulia, the Dewan Rakyat’s Speaker that Malaysia is an Islamic state simply because Islamis the only religion stated in the Federal Constitution. Unlike Turkey and India where the word “secular” is clearly provided in their respective Constitutions, such provision is not found in the Federal Constitution.

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