The proposed bill to curb the proselytisation of non-Islam religions to Muslims will only apply to the federal territories – Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Labuan – Religious Affairs Minister Idris Ahmad said today.
The bill is part of a move to streamline the laws in federal territories on this matter and to ensure that they are in line with the majority of the country, he said.
According to Idris, with the exception of the federal territories and three states – Penang, Sabah, and Sarawak – most states in Malaysia have Islamic enactments forbidding proselytisation to Muslims.
Idris, who is a PAS leader and a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said the bill will not contravene constitutional provisions on the freedom of religion.
“Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution allows state and federal governments to protect the sanctity of Islam, that is, by preventing the spread of other religions to Muslims.
“Secondly, these curbs on the spread of non-Muslim religions based on Article 11(4) is only limited to Muslims and not the followers of other religions.
“The freedom of religion under Article 11 is still guaranteed even if this bill is drafted and approved,” Idris said in a statement.
He was responding to protests from non-Muslim groups after his deputy, Ahmad Marzuk Shaary, said recently that Putrajaya was drafting several new shariah laws, including the anti-proselytisation bill. – TMI