Archive for October, 2012

Minister Claims “Malaysia Not Founded or Endorsed as Secular State.” Really?

October 23, 2012

Datuk Nazri Aziz has effectively denied the fact that the Federal Constitution views Malaysia as a secular state. He trades on the ambiguity of the phrase in article 3 of the Constitution, “Islam is the religion of the Federation”. He argues against the secular nature of the Constitution since, “A secular country does not expressly identify one religion as its official religion.” The Malaysian Insider quotes Nazri, “Malaysia was founded on the basis of an Islamic government, under the Malay rulers as head of the religion… The word secular does not exist at all anywhere in our federal constitution.”

Nazri conveniently ignores the fact that the term “official religion” is not used at all in article 3. He ignores the caveats in article 3(2) which circumscribes the position of Islam in this article that refers to “acts, observances or ceremonies”, and article 3(4), “Nothing in this Article derogates from any other provision of this Constitution” which elsewhere has been clearly defined as secular. (more…)