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Legitimacy Gap - Secularism, Religion, and Culture in Comparative Constitutional Law by Depaigne, Vincent (13th July 2017)

Part II Models of Reconciliation Between Constitutional Law and Culture, 6 Malaysia: ‘Asymmetric’ Secularism

From: Legitimacy Gap: Secularism, Religion, and Culture in Comparative Constitutional Law

Vincent Depaigne

Chapter 6 looks at the ‘asymmetric’ model of Malaysia. The Constitution of Malaysia has been conceived as a ‘social contract’ between the Malay, Indian, and Chinese communities, and as essentially secular. Looking at the position of Islam in the Malaysian Constitution, this chapter assess whether Malaysia can be offered as an example of a secular and religious state, in particular in the light of the Lina Joy judgment of the Federal Supreme Court. In much the same way as ‘nationalization’ is proceeding in France and India, I suggest one can discern an ‘Islamization’ in Malaysia, leading to a ‘de-secularization’ of the state. This trend raises the issue of the nature of the secular state and where its limits are, in particular when faced with the ‘separatist’ legal claim from a religious community.

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