Is Malaysia an Islamic nation?


Tajuddin Rosli

Our beloved country Malaysia is plagued with so many problems in recent times. The problems range from alleged corruption involving enormous amount of money to the dress code at the workplace. The media has been hit with news of a nurse who allegedly got the sack from a private hospital due to her attire.

I find it appalling how such an issue can spark fireworks. Every institution has its regulations with regards to etiquette and dress codes. She applied for a job in a private hospital, joined the hospital at the own will, but refuses to follow their code of conduct. The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) very rightly said that one who cannot adhere to dress code by private hospitals should not be working there.

Ironically, even this has been turned into a racial fracas on social media. Some quarters are urging all organisations to abide Islamic dress code protocols. We often read and hear mindless individuals asking people who cannot abide to Islamic code of conduct to leave the country.

This brings me to the essence of regulations in this country. To begin with, is Malaysia an Islamic country? What does our Constitution say?

Our constitution defines Islam as the official religion of this country. However, practices of other religions are clearly allowed in every part of the nation. Nowhere in the constitution does it mention that Malaysia is an Islamic country. Just because Muslims form the majority in numbers, it does not mean that everything has to be Islamised. If the majority is a reason everything has to be Islamic, then pork should be halal in Sarawak as Christians are the majority there. If numbers should define the way a country or an organisation is run, then we should not utter a word if Muslims are not allowed to fast in China during Ramadhan, slaughtering cows being illegalised in India, or the hijab being banned in Western countries.

Our constitution also has a clause of ‘equality’ where it clearly states that there can be no discrimination against a citizen of another religion for any post, business, profession, or occupation. This clearly shows that equality is something emphasized in the essence of our constitution. This was indeed the case in the distant past. The breach of equality in our constitution started in 1981 under the premiership of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. It was his evil intention to disregard the country’s constitution to empower a single ethnic group in his quest to remain in power for as long as possible. Malaysia’s father of corruption divided the people of this country to satisfy his quench for greed of power and wealth. In my opinion, Mahathir should stand trial for going against the constitution and possibly spend his remaining years repenting behind bars.

Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor is the only vocal one who does not fear upholding our constitution. His constant message on unity and freedom to all celebrations in Johor deserves the highest accolade possible. Have you ever wondered why we do not rampantly see racist chants in Johor? Anyone who tries such a stunt would probably need to relocate out of the state.

Besides a host of negativity that Mahathir brought to this country, he also created a Malay race that is extremely volatile, insecure and insensitive. He implanted fear in us of becoming irrelevant and losing our special rights. I find it extremely disturbing with the ‘special rights’ label. It makes us look incapable and disabled. Every time I see a sign that offer privileges to disabled individuals, I remember my special rights.

There is no need to make a meal out of petty issues such as dress code. Just use common sense. If you do not necessarily agree with a dress code in any institution, then do not work there. It is not rocket science. There are other brighter people who are willing to work under such circumstances.