‘Academically dishonest’ Shariah Index survey draws civil society ire with bias on minorities


(MMO) – At a time when we as a country seem to be tightening our belts, why is the government spending money on such an opaque initiative, that seems to have been done before?

A recently leaked survey for the Malaysian Shariah Index has drawn harsh criticism from civil society groups for its leading questions, which they said were manipulative and contained disturbing assertions on the country’s religious minorities.

With scarce information on the index available to the public, the groups were also worried over the confidential nature of the citizen survey given the impact the project would have towards the whole country.

“The questionnaire contains no definitions or explanations, and makes the assumption that some, if not all of that information is accessible and available to the public,” women rights group Sisters in Islam’s (SIS) Suriani Kempe said in a text message to Malay Mail Online.

“It might as well be measuring public perception instead of trying to ascertain the degree to which certain areas are Shariah-compliant (what does that even mean?),” the group’s programme manager asked, calling the survey “academically dishonest”.

On Saturday, Malay Mail Online reported that Malaysia’s success in preventing the spread of Christianisation, queer activities, apostasy, and deviant teachings are among some of the measures used to determine the country’s adherence to Shariah requirements, according to the survey.

The confidential survey, which contributed towards developing the recently-launched Malaysian Shariah Index, also measures Putrajaya’s success in spreading Islamic values and cultures among Malaysians, either through the arts scene, mass media or schools.

“A survey which is meant to contribute towards public policy and laws affecting all Malaysians cannot be confidential: it should be the opposite,” said Honey Tan, a spokesman of the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (Comango).

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/academically-dishonest-shariah-index-survey-draws-civil-society-ire-with-bi