Home world Nearly 9 in 10 Muslims back making Syariah code Malaysia's 'official law': Pew survey

Nearly 9 in 10 Muslims back making Syariah code Malaysia's 'official law': Pew survey

Nearly 9 in 10 Muslims back making Syariah code Malaysia's 'official law': Pew survey
Published September 13, 2023 Updated September 13, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

KUALA LUMPUR — A whopping 86 per cent of Malaysian Muslims polled recently are in support of making the Syariah code the “official law” here or in other countries where they are the majority.

A survey by the Pew Research Center involving Malaysia and five other countries in Asia found that in comparison, just 64 per cent of Muslims polled in Indonesia felt the same way.

In Malaysia, Islam is stated in the Federal Constitution’s Article 3 to be the “religion of the federation”. Each state also enacts state laws that are binding on all Muslims within the state on matters such as Islamic family law and Syariah offences.

The same report also found that most of the Buddhists surveyed supported basing laws on religious doctrine with 43 per cent of those in Malaysia backing such an “official law” where they are the majority.

“In general, adults who have received more education are less likely to say religious leaders should be politicians or talk publicly about what politicians or political parties they support,” the report said.

“And people who are more religious — that is, those who say religion is very important in their lives — are slightly more inclined than others to believe that religious leaders should publicly support political parties or candidates.”

Additionally, the survey found that more of the Malaysians polled preferred a leader with a strong hand to solve Malaysia’s problems at 58 per cent, while 42 per cent preferred a democratic form of government.

The report said those with more education and who are younger than 35 years old prefer a democratic form of government, and 63 per cent of Malaysia’s respondents said that those who disagree with the government’s actions should be able to publicly criticise the government.

But at the same time, relatively more Malaysian respondents preferred harmony over the right to speak one’s opinion at 54 per cent, while 45 per cent said people should be allowed to speak their opinions publicly even if they upset others.