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Controversial bills spark fears

by | Oct 8, 2021 | Opinions | 0 comments

PHOTO: REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

BY: CATHERINE SAW

Two controversial bills on religion proposed by Malaysia’s de facto law minister has sparked fears of the freedom to worship being curtailed among non-Muslim worshippers and it has got opposition politicians hopping mad.

Religion is always, anywhere around the world, a fiery, contentious issue that can inflame passions and needs to be handled not in a slam-damn-dunk style but with great tact and sensitivity especially in a multi-religious setting like Malaysia.

In this case, there is a need to deliberate at length and discuss and debate in a calm atmosphere before these proposed bills are passed as law by Parliament. It must involve all the stakeholders and they must be able to contribute their views and opinions freely and openly.

In Malaysia, Islam is enshrined in the Federal Constitution as the official religion of the country. But this nation is not an Islamic state. It is a secular state under the constitution and nowhere does it impliedly or explicitly state that Malaysia is an Islamic state.

This is why, under the Federal Constitution, freedom of religion is guaranteed for all religions. There is no discrimination and if the government wishes to make changes they must seek the approval of all parties.

In a democracy, a free and fair state like Malaysia, the freedom of expression is vital to public peace and safety and people must be able to voice their displeasure over anything that goes against the spirit of democracy.

-THE MALAYSIA VOICE

** The views expressed on this opinion is of the writer and not the publisher

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