10 December 2017
Malaysia’s recent denouncement of atheists is a ploy to burnish ruling United Malays National Organisation’s (Umno) credentials as the defender of Islam and the Malay community, say observers, as a looming general election entrenches the party’s hardline stand.
While the employment of Islam as a political tool and the condemnation of non-mainstream groups is not new, this has taken on a sharper focus now as the country heads towards a crucial election due in a few months, analysts and politicians told TODAY.
“The recent interest in atheists is topical but unsurprising that they are now made out to be the latest ‘threat’ to Muslims and public harmony,” said Mr Rashaad Ali, a research analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies’ (RSIS) Malaysia Programme.
“Considering the (just concluded) UMNO general assembly and the elections next year, the party is busy reminding Malay-Muslims that they’re looking out for their interests.”
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 11/12/2017