Is there religious freedom in Malaysia? Survey shows one in 10 says no

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Source: The Malay Mail Online

Infographic by MMO, source from Kajidata Research

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 ― A recent national survey by market research firm Kajidata showed that around one in 10 Malaysians did not agree that religious freedom is practised here although Malaysia is a multi-faith country.

The survey to gauge Malaysians’ thoughts on the Transformasi Nasional 2050 (TN50) initiative, with a focus on unity and prosperity, also found that roughly the same disagreed with Islam as the religion of the federation.

When polled, 10.7 per cent respondents disagreed with Islam as “the official religion in Malaysia”, compared to 82.5 per cent who agreed.

Meanwhile, 11.4 per cent disagreed with “religious freedom that is currently practised peacefully in Malaysian”, compared to 80 per cent otherwise.

Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution states that “Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.”

Despite that, the survey showed that 72.7 per cent of respondents have celebrated religious celebrations other than their own, while 17.7 per cent did not do so.

Among respondents, 88.1 per cent also supported the government’s efforts to celebrate multicultural festivities to foster harmony in the society, while 5 per cent did not.

However, the survey showed that almost all Malaysians support unity and prosperity in a plural society here, compared to a tiny minority that disagreed with tolerance.

Kajidata also found that almost all Malaysians ― at 92.8 per cent ― said they are proud of living in a multi-ethnic and multicultural country.

Almost all Malaysians also agreed that they respect each others’ cultures besides their own, at an overwhelming figure of 96.9 per cent.

In comparison, 2.3 per cent of those polled said they were not proud of living in a plural country, while 0.6 per cent admitted to not respecting other cultures.

The Kajidata survey was done through computerised telephone interviews between March 8 and March 17, 2017 among 1,025 Malaysian adults randomly sampled across ethnicity, gender, age and state.