Is a secular state anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-Royalty, or anti-religion?

DAP MP for Kepong Lim Lip Eng has provoked a new round of debate, dissection, and analysis whether Malaysia is a secular state or an Islamic state.

The PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man in his response to Lip Eng said Malaysia is not a secular country and that PAS accept the basic pillars in the formation of the country.

Before I address this subject, I wish to first examine whether a secular state is anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-Royalty, or anti-religion.

Malaysia can never rise up again and be a great world-class nation if we have our own definition of terms which is different from the rest of the world.

The free encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, defines a “secular state” as “an idea pertaining to secularity, whereby a state is or purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential treatment for a citizen based on their religious beliefs, affiliation or lack of either over those with other profiles”.

By its definition, a secular state is not anti-religion.

Wikipedia lists 43 countries in Africa, 34 countries in the Americas, 20 countries in Asia, 31 countries in Europe, 11 countries in Oceania and eight transcontinental countries as secular countries. Out of these 147 countries, some 30 of them are member countries in the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) which shows that a secular state is not anti-Islam.

The formative discussions leading up to Independence conducted by the Reid Commission and the Cobbold Commission prior to the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 state that:

(a) The (White Paper) Federation of Malaya Constitutional Proposals 1957 succinctly states that “there has been included in the proposed Federal Constitution a declaration that Islam is the religion of the Federation. This will in no way affect the present position of the Federation as a secular state…”

(b) The Cobbold Commission (1962) elucidates that “… we are agreed that Islam should be the national religion for the Federation. We are satisfied that the proposal in no way jeopardizes freedom of religion in the Federation, which in effect would be secular.

Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, said on 8th February 1983 when celebrating his 80th birthday that Malaysia should not be turned into an Islamic State because the country had a multi-racial population with various beliefs. He said the nation was set up as a secular state with Islam as the religion and this was enshrined in the Constitution.

The third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, in his birthday celebration a week later, publicly agreed with Tunku.

A secular state is therefore not anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-Royalty or anti-religion.


(Media Statement by DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 22nd October 2023)

  1. #1 by Watery Fish on Saturday, 28 October 2023 - 12:29 pm

    How many Islamic states in the world have a Royalty King at the helm of the State ?

  2. #2 by Watery Fish on Saturday, 28 October 2023 - 12:35 pm

    PAS accept the basic pillars in the formation of the country.
    What are the “basic pillars” , can Tuan Ibrahim elaborate further.

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