KUALA LUMPUR, 30 December 2005 “” Leaders of Malaysia’s non-Muslim religions condemned yesterday the state’s decision to give a man a Muslim burial against his Hindu widow’s wishes, and called for a review of their constitutional rights.
“We are concerned that the fundamental rights of other religions in this country are being slowly eroded,” said Venki Sankar, an ethnic Indian business leader and Hindu. “It makes us feel very angry.”
Just over half of Malaysia’s population of 26 million are Muslim, and Islam is the state religion, but government is secular and the constitution guarantees religious minorities, such as Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, equality under the law.
The case of former army commander and mountain climber M. Moorthy, who was given a Muslim burial on Wednesday by officials of Malaysia’s Islamic-affairs department, has shaken the trust of some non-Muslims in their constitutional rights.