I totally disagree when someone says that the Islamic Laws in Malaysia only apply to the Muslim and therefore, as a non-Muslim, I am not affected and should not worry about the implementation of the Syariah (or in the recent days – the Hudud) laws.
Any non-Muslim who thinks that we are not affected by the Islamic legal system in Malaysia is an idiot. All we need to look at are the many cases involving custody tussles of children where one parent converted to Islam, inheritance when a parent converts to Islam, and infamous body snatchers when a person converts to Islam on their death beds.
One other thing that a lot of people miss out, and that I would like to highlight, is how it is impossible for a Muslim and non-Muslim to marry in Malaysia.
To me, this is plain ridiculous. If two people are in love and wish to be joined in holy matrimony, who is the government to stand in their way. In fact, I would say that it is bordering on sinful if the government chooses to separate two people whom are truly in love with one another and wish to be joined before God (or gods).
Unfortunately, in Malaysia, the government can stop the legal registration of a marriage if it involves a Muslim and a non-Muslim. Since apostasy is also illegal in Malaysia, this results in the non-Muslim partner having to convert to Islam in order to marry his/her loved one.
This is plain hypocrisy. But that’s a topic for several other blog entries.
So, any non-Muslim who thinks that we enjoy immunity from the Islamic laws and legal system in Malaysia is wrong. While we are able to ignore it in large parts of our lives, it is something that we ignore at our own peril.
The reach of the law is far and wide. Unless we live in separated societies and do not inter-mix between the religious groups, everyone is affected by the Islamic laws and legal system in Malaysia.
We are not immune.