Malaysia Not Secular State, Says Najib
KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Tuesday Malaysia is not a secular state but an Islamic nation with its own interpretation.
He said the country had never been affiliated to secularism but was always driven by the fundamentals of Islam as it is clearly stated in the constitution that Islam is the official religion.
"Islam is the official religion and we are an Islamic state. But as an Islamic state, it does not mean that we don't respect the non-Muslims. The Muslims and the non-Muslims have their own rights (in this country)," he told reporters after officiating the "International Conference on the Role of Islamic States in a Globalised World" on behalf of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at a hotel here.
The conference is organised by the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim). Ikim chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid and director-general Dr Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas were present.
Najib was asked whether Malaysia was seemingly moving towards being a secular state.
"I have to correct you. We have never been secular because being secular by Western definition means separation of the Islamic principles in the way we govern a country.
"We have never been affiliated to that position. We have always been driven by our adherence to the fundamentals of Islam. So, your premise is wrong," he said.
Najib said Malaysia does not want to be stereotyped with the Western definitions of a secular and a non-secular state.
The two-day conference beginning today aims to discuss specifically the strategic modus operandi of revitalising the Muslim ummah in the global context, particularly through a system of education, to harness quality human capital.
Earlier, Najib launched a book entitled "The Ijazah of Abdullah Fahim" authored by Mesut Idris and Syed Ali and published by MPH Group Publishing. It is available at major bookstores at RM59.90 per copy.