Dipetik dari US Department of State
c. Freedom of Religion
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice; however, the Government banned some religious groups. The Constitution provides that every citizen or person in the country has a constitutional right to profess, practice, or propagate his religious belief so long as such activities do not breach any other laws relating to public order, public health, or morality.
All religious groups were subject to government scrutiny and must be registered legally under the Societies Act. The 1992 Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA) gives the Government the power to restrain leaders and members of religious groups and institutions from carrying out political activities, “exciting disaffection against” the Government, creating “ill will” between religious groups, or carrying out subversive activities. The act was prompted by activities that the Government perceived as threats to religious harmony, including aggressive and “insensitive” proselytizing and the “mixing of religion and politics.” Violation of a restraining order issued under the MRHA is a criminal offense. The act also prohibits judicial review of its enforcement or of any possible denial of rights arising from its implementation.
The Government played an active but limited role in religious affairs. It did not tolerate speech or actions, including ostensibly religious speech or actions, which affected racial and religious harmony, and sometimes issued restraining orders barring participation in such activities. The Presidential Council for Religious Harmony reviewed such orders and made recommendations to the President on whether to confirm, cancel, or alter a restraining order. The Presidential Council for Minority Rights examined all pending legislation to ensure it was not disadvantageous to a particular group, reported to the Government on matters that affected any racial or religious community, and investigated complaints. The Government also supported citizen access to traditional religious organizations by assisting religious institutions to find space in public housing estates where most citizens lived. The Government maintained a semiofficial relationship with the Muslim community through the Islamic Religious Council (MUIS), which was established under the Administration of Muslim Law Act. The MUIS advised the Government on the Muslim community�s concerns, maintained regulatory authority over Muslim religious matters, and oversaw a Mosque Building Fund financed by voluntary payroll deductions.
In January four sets of Muslim parents challenged the country’s ban on girls wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf (tudung) in school. When the parents refused to heed school warnings regarding the ban, the four 6-year-old girls were suspended. One subsequently returned to school in June, and another moved to Australia in July. The parents of the other two challenged the ban, and attempted to bring in longtime Malaysian opposition leader and lawyer Karpal Singh to present their case. However, the application for Singh’s employment permit was refused. At year’s end, the case was still pending.