KUALA LUMPUR: Atheism is "unconstitutional" and should not be allowed in Malaysia, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki according to the Star.
Dr Asyraf was responding to a question posed by Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud in Parliament on Thursday (Nov 23) when he said that atheism "contradicts" both the Malaysian Federal Constitution and the Rukunegara (Malaysia's National Principles).
He cited the first principle in the Rukunegara, which is "Belief in God" and Article 11 in the Federal Constitution.
“We need to understand, that in the Malaysian context, our Federal Constitution states that freedom of religion is not freedom from religion," he said as quoted by the Star.
"It is unconstitutional to say we can spread ideologies that incite people to leave a religion or profess no religion at all.”
Article 11 in the Federal Constitution states that while every person in Malaysia has the right to practice their religion, the federal law may control the propagation of religious beliefs among people practising Islam.
“The Government can draw up any legal provisions necessary to prevent such beliefs and doctrines, which is deemed to be a threat to the sanctity of Islam," said Dr Asyraf, who is also deputy minister in charge of religious affairs.
He added that atheism "goes against the laws of public order and morality".
“For instance, anyone who tries to spread ideologies and doctrines that promote atheism and similar beliefs, which tarnish the sanctity of other religions, can be charged under the Sedition Act,” he said.
Dr Asyraf is not the first politician to speak out against atheism in Malaysia. In August, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim said the government should track down atheists, sparking fear among some Malay atheists.