Islamic matters in Pakatan states

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Malaysian political culture seeks to politicise everything under the sun, and nothing is as easily politicised as religion. With the rise of a two-coalitional system, the public has a chance to discuss religious values that go beyond mere political posturing.

Political competition between the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat coalitions is predicated on numerous fronts, the more sensitive of which involves religious matters.

There is certainly a long history of political parties continually trying to outperform each other in being more “Islamic” in theory and practice. This holds true especially for the United Malay National Organisation (Umno) and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). This article explores policy reform areas that have been prioritised by Pakatan Rakyat state governments in Penang and Selangor with regards to Islamic affairs.

The two and a half years of Pakatan Rakyat governing in these states have been peppered with incidents that refl ect the complexities surrounding religion.


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