19 November 2017
Johorean Zakiah Mat Lila has never said “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Deepavali” to her neighbours. She will vote only for Muslims and applauds strict Islamic laws, such as cutting off the hands of thieves and caning fornicators.
Madam Zakiah represents a growing conservative voice in modern and multicultural Johor, Malaysia’s southernmost state, where a recent controversy over a “Muslim-only” launderette had courted a royal rebuke and sparked furore online.
In fact, her views mirrored the findings of a maiden survey commissioned by ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute on the role of Islam and its governance in the state. The results, released on Nov 10, revealed that Johoreans, particularly Malays, are becoming more religious if not more conservative.
On hudud laws, Mr Rashaad Ali, an analyst with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), said some Malay-Muslims, whether or not they are Johoreans, would support its implementation “solely on the basis that it is ‘Islamic’ and their identity as a Muslim almost obligates them to lend support”.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 20/11/2017