Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Does The Federal Constitution Say That Malays Have No Freedom To Choose Their Religion?

Nurul Izzah Anwar
Nurul Izzah Lembah Pantai MP Image From Wikipedia
Following Nurul's remark that there was no compulsion in Islam, Umno 'mullahs' have been hounding for her blood by accusing her of supporting apostasy.

One guy even said that freedom of religion did not apply to the Muslims (I believe what he was trying to say was Malays) as per the Federal Constitution.

But as far as I understand it, the Federal Constitution merely defines who is a Malay.

So, let's take a closer look at what the Constitution actually says in Article 160 on the definition of a Malay

'Malay' means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom

Note: All emphasis mine.

So, even though a person was born ethnically a Malay and professes Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language but does not conform to Malay custom he/she is NOT a Malay by definition.

Or if he/she conforms to Malay custom and habitually speaks Malay but does not profess Islam, he/she is NOT a Malay, again by definition.

Art 160 does NOT stipulate that a Malay must be a Muslim. It merely defines who a Malay is.

Funny, in this context, Art 160 seems to have supplanted the dictionary meaning of a Malay.

That's all that Art 160 does, merely defining who is a Malay.

It does NOT say that a Malay has no freedom to choose his/her religion.

It is just unfortunate the way Art 160 on who is a Malay is worded.

Read what some of the readers of Malaysiakini had to say on the controversy over what Nurul said

Happy Deepavali To My Indian Friends And Readers!


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