‘Malaysia falling deeper into religious fundamentalism’


ULAANBAATAR: A veteran Pakistani politician believes Malaysia is falling deeper into religious fundamentalism.

In an interview on the sidelines of the 11th Asia-Europe People’s Forum here in Mongolia, Awami Workers Party Secretary General Farooq Tariq told FMT that from his observation of developments in Malaysia, he believed religious fundamentalism was growing in Malaysia.

Farooq had, in a report earlier today, lamented the effects of religious fundamentalism in his own country over the years.

He cited the “Allah” issue as one of the main examples of religious fundamentalism in Malaysia.

He also opined that the Malaysian Government and society as a whole, was more religious than a number of other Muslim countries.

According to Farooq, one of the contributing factors to fundamentalism in Pakistan was the numerous madrasahs – some 80,000 of them.

He noted that many Malaysians had gone to study at these madrasahs. As a result, they had become more entrenched in fundamentalism.

He also said that fundamentalism, especially in Muslim countries, stemmed from the failure of governments to look after its people, in terms of providing basic facilities and job opportunities, as well as policies and laws which turned people towards fundamentalism.

Farooq pointed out that religious fundamentalism would eventually manifest into religious extremism, forcing governments to then come up with anti-terror laws.

“However, these anti-terror laws are used against critics of the government and civil society activists, and this is wrong,” he said, adding this was already the case in Pakistan.

“Governments should only use anti-terror laws against suspected terrorists.

“Governments, with their resources, should be able to clearly identify who is a terrorist and who is not.”

In Malaysia, former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has criticised Putrajaya for using the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 to allegedly detain critics and silence dissenters. This vocal critic of Prime Minister Najib Razak, said the law was meant to address terrorism and charged that the use of the law other than for this purpose was an abuse of power.