Right to freedom of religion

THE Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is deeply concerned with the most recent crackdown on a Shia minority group in Kelantan for practising their religion, a right guaranteed in the Federal Constitution. The arrest of 50 individuals including children, in Suhakam’s view, indicates a severe intolerance for minority faiths, including Muslims, and can be construed as a move towards extremism.

As a result, a population of Malaysians have been deprived of their basic constitutional right to freedom of religion. Suhakam believes that the constant threat of raids, arrests, and detention by religious authorities acting with the police amounts to a government-led persecution of Shias despite Malaysia having a constitutional framework to guarantee all citizens the right to freedom of religion.

The glaring inequality facing religious minorities has not changed since Pakatan Harapan came to power and despite the government’s promise to end discrimination in a moderate, progressive and tolerant Malaysia.

Suhakam would not want to see a situation where religious intolerance, discrimination, social hostilities and incitement to violence based on religion or belief reach a new depth in our new Malaysia and believes sensitivity of the subject matter can no longer be a barrier to a firm resolution.

The government must immediately take steps towards guaranteeing legal protections and rights for all religious minorities and to reinforce peaceful and sustainable coexistence among Malaysians.

Therefore, Suhakam advises the government to take immediate steps to strengthen the enjoyment of the fundamental human right to freedom of religion, as opposed to restricting this constitutional right. Suhakam stands ready to play a facilitative role and hopes that the government will take fair and constructive steps towards providing equal rights for all religious groups in Malaysia.

Therefore, Suhakam advises the government to take immediate steps to strengthen the enjoyment of the fundamental human right to freedom of religion, as opposed to restricting this constitutional right. Suhakam stands ready to play a facilitative role and hopes that the government will take fair and constructive steps towards providing equal rights for all religious groups in Malaysia.

Suhakam believes that the Council of Rulers has a responsibility towards sections of Malaysian population victimised on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Tan Sri Razali Ismail
Chairman
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam)

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