..behind the facade of fireworks, super-bike displays and general self-satisfaction, the real truth of Malaysia's descent into an intolerance never experienced under British rule remains like a shameful scar which the government does not want even its own people to see.
Malaysia, which boasts proudly that it is a "moderate Muslim country" is nothing of the sort. It enforces Islam in a racially-based apartheid which ensures that no ethnic Malay can avoid being labelled as a Muslim from the age of 12 onwards, and refuses to allow Muslims to convert to other faiths. And while Muslims are allowed to convert others, the government is pressuring all 13 states in the nation to enforce laws preventing anyone from attempting to convert a Muslim.
Many of Malaysia's states have adopted the Control and Restriction Bill, which gives a fine of 10,000 ringit ($2,653) or imprisonment for up to one year for "persuading, influencing a Muslim to leave Islam for another religion."
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