Sama-sama kita MEMBANTAH sekeras-kerasnya penubuhan Suruhanjaya Antara Kepercayaan @ Interfaith Commission (IFC)

Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic N.G.O.s (ACCIN) urges the Malaysian Government not to countenance in any way, the formation of  the Inter-Religious Commission (IRC) by certain non-Muslim organizations, principally the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism (MCCBCHS), and the Bar Council.



According to a memorandum submitted by the MCCBCHS to the Bar Council, the MCCBCHS position on certain  Islamic matters can be summarized as follows:

  • Muslims should have the right to renounce Islam even if Islam does not allow it.

  • Article 11 of the Federal Constitution should be the governing law on the question of a Muslim’s right to apostasise, and not the Shariah.

  • To facilitate apostasy, the Civil Courts (and not the Shariah Courts) should have the jurisdiction to determine the ‘right’ of a Muslim to renounce his religion.

  • Efforts made by the State Shariah authorities to rehabilitate would-be apostates ‘are questionable’.

  • The definition of ‘Muslim’ under the relevant State Enactments is ‘too wide’ even if consistent with the Shariah.

  • Nobody should be regarded as a Muslim by reason of both of his or her parents being Muslims; the individual concerned should choose and profess Islam of his own volition.

  • In any case, a Muslim’s Identity Card should not disclose his religion.

Many of the above items being concerned with either direct teaching of Islam or connected to it ; and applicable only to Muslims, ACCIN iterates that no one has the right to question them, not even Muslims, let alone non-Muslims! The MCCBCHS memo is simply a crude, rude and insensitive attempt at interfering with Muslims’ way of life and the teachings of Islam. Having a statutory body to facilitate such interference does not legitimize it, rather it imperils religious harmony. The non-Muslim dominated Bar Council on its part, has gone to great lengths to ensure the success of the IRC-idea, regardless of the objections of its Muslim members in the Shariah Sub-Committee.


Article 11 of the Federal Constitution :  “Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and…. to propagate it”.  None of the matters raised in the MCCBCHS memo and summarized above, concern non-Muslims.

 Clearly, the right of non-Muslims to practise their respective religions does not include any right to interfere with the teachings of Islam, much less demand that these be changed to their advantage.


The IRC, once established, would no doubt undermine the status of Islam as the official religion of this country. Further, it would make a mockery of the Agong and the Sultans as official heads of the religion of Islam in this country.

The IRC would most certainly interfere with existing constitutional arrangements for the administration of Islamic matters which are vested in the Rulers, the State Islamic Councils and other bodies and Islamic officials. The IRC will be met with resistance from such quarters. The implications for Muslim unity, Federal-State relations and viability of Islamic administration (already plagued with problems) are serious.


Based on the minutes of meeting of the Organising Committee for the setting up of the IRC, the IRC is intended to be a body comprising Muslim and non-Muslim representatives of their respective religions who will be authorized to receive complaints (of the nature listed above) from the followers of any religion  against another religion, and to make decisions to redress their grievances  even to the extent of changing the teachings of the ‘offending’ religion, and enforcing its decisions in the manner of a court of law (adjudicatory powers).  It is therefore not a ‘dialogue body’ as claimed, but rather a ‘grievance redressal body’.


The members of the Organising Committee have been challenged by ACCIN  to give an example of an inter-faith or at least an intra-faith organization from any where in the world armed with the powers that they hope to vest the IRC with. To date they have not been able to do.

The IRC has the potential to interfere with the teachings of any religion against the wishes of the relevant religious authorities, and this will most certainly lead to retaliatory complaints. A free-for-all may develop where the followers of any religion may complain against the teachings of other religions only because of complaints made against the teachings of their religion. This would seriously threaten religious harmony in this country, rather than foster understanding and harmonious relationships.


It is a well known fact that minority religions in Malaysia are enjoying freedom of their respective religious practices, to a degree not enjoyed by Muslims in any non-Muslim country. Further, SUHAKAM already provides a venue for any human right grievances. There is no need for another discrete human rights body to deal with the question of the right to practice one’s religion. In its present form, SUHAKAM is the much more suitable body as it does not interfere with the teachings of any religion though it has adequate powers to deal with restrictions on the right of an individual to practice his or her religion and to deal with complaints from any religious authority. It can make recommendations to the Government for changes to laws and policies rather than impose solutions which insensitively interfere with the teachings of religions. It offers an appropriately emollient approach to this most sensitive of matters and is more likely to succeed.


The Government is urged to reject the IRC proposal.  Allowing it, even in the mildest form would be an invitation to further demands to strengthen it, till it can effectively undermine Islam in this country.  This clearly is the aim of the sponsors of this diabolical ‘proposal’.             

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