Malaysia: More Johor Malays have hardline Islamic thinking: ISEAS

  • A survey commissioned by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute on the role of Islam and its governance in Johor has shown Malays in the state are becoming more religiously conservative, the Straits Times (ST) reported on 19 Nov 17.
  • It said most Johorean Malays preferred Muslims in key leadership positions, while three in four were supportive of hudud, the Islamic criminal punishment that includes stoning for adultery and amputation for theft.
  • It also found that 57% of them wanted hudud to be applicable to all Malaysians regardless of their religion. ISEAS fellow Norshahril Saat was quoted as saying that such conservatism was previously associated only with Malays living in Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah.
  • A 2013 survey on Johor residents had not delved into religion, but on attitudes towards governance and economy, Iskandar Malaysia and Singapore.
  • Rashaad Ali, an analyst with the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), was quoted by the ST as saying the Sultan should be commended for taking a strong position on the recent laundrette saga where others were silent.
  • He however said some Malay-Muslims, whether or not they were Johoreans, supported the implementation of hudud solely on the basis that it was “Islamic” and their identity as Muslims almost obligated them to give the law their backing.
  • The survey polled 2,011 respondents from Johor from May 17 – Jun 17 on their views on the role of Islam, governance and the Johor Sultan. Of those interviewed, 55% were Malays, 38% were Chinese and 7% were Indians.
  • The report also said 94% of Malays agreed that “the Johor Sultan is a good guardian of Islam in the state”, although they may not necessarily agree with his views on Arabisation, Islamisation and the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim).
  • On 14 Oct 17, Sultan Ibrahim ordered the Johor Islamic Religious Department (Jaij) to cease its dealings with Jakim after its former officer Zamihan Mat Zin supported the laundrette and criticised the Sultan for rebuking the owner’s Muslim-only policy.

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