KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — Malaysia has no laws that force people to have a religious affiliation, a minority faith group told a deputy minister who claimed that atheism was illegal.
Jagir Singh, chairman of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), said that atheists are therefore free to profess their beliefs.
“Article 11(1) [of the Federal Constitution] gives the right to every person to profess and practise his religion. It is noted that a deputy minister has stated that it is not equal to freedom of religion, that is, every person must have a religion. There is nothing in the Federal Constitution, or any law in Malaysia that says every person must have a religion,” Jagir said.
On the Rukun Negara which lists “belief in God” as one of its principles, Jagir said it was included as most Malaysians were already professing their belief in religion.
According to the lawyer, the principle also meant that there was already due recognition that there were also some without any religious beliefs.
“Of course most Malaysians have [a] religion. This fact was recognised in the Rukun Negara. The first point being ‘belief in God’. It ascertains that most Malaysians have a religion,” said Jagir.
“This was the reason they included it as ‘kepercayaan kepada Tuhan’, and thus recognising that there may be some without religion .
“It must be remembered also, that Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty. To be atheist is not against any law,” he added. Read more