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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Religious Freedom - Back to the Constitution?

While the Lina Joy case can inspire or dismay thousands, I wonder why the Constitution has not been amended by a majority government so that such cases that create so much bad publicity will not even end up in a subordinate court.

In this case, we have spent so much resources trying to decide the religious beliefs or unbeliefs of a woman who has for many years proclaimed she no longer practises the religion she was born into.

After all Malaysia is a secular nation as stated in the Constitution and Islam is the official religion and no one disputes those basic facts. But our Constitution also states that freedom of religion of the individual is also a basic right.

I know Malaysia is the only country that professes religious freedom and yet denies the majority population the right to freely choose their religion.

Of course parents of all religions feel hurt and disturbed when their children convert to another faith but thousands have done so in Malaysia for love and sometimes commercial gain.

I believe the majority of the population feel that religion is something best left to the individual as God is the ultimate judge and He definitely the thoughts we have even before we have them.

So I suggest to our MPs that they should consider revisiting the Constitution again and removing all the discrepancies that exist there so that ALL Malaysians can truly enjoy religious freedom.

Some may get offended but I suggest that these come from only a small section of the population and I am sure the majority of peace-loving Malaysians can accept their weakness. We need to do this soon as the fires of religious intolerance are only fanned by such a case like Lina Joy.

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