Survey: Malaysians say religious worship is personal; politicians should stay out of it

A woman wearing a mask in the design of the Jalur Gemilang is pictured in Kuala Lumpur August 16, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A woman wearing a mask in the design of the Jalur Gemilang is pictured in Kuala Lumpur August 16, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — A recent survey titled “Malaysia Temperature Check” revealed that 68 per cent of its respondents agreed that religious practice is a personal choice, while 78 per cent agreed that political parties should stop playing the race card and focus on formulating fair policies.

The survey, led by youth electoral advocacy group Undi18 with youth non-profit Architects of Diversity and pollster Vase.ai, also showed that 32 per cent of the 1,027 respondents agreed that non-Muslims should not be required to convert to Islam in order to marry a Muslim.

However, in a contrast to the responses on abovementioned religious policies in Malaysia, 54 per cent disagreed that Malaysians should be allowed to choose their gender identity, while 20 per cent remained undecided on this.

Similarly, 44 per cent of respondents also believed apostasy should not be allowed in Malaysia. 

On Malay rights, 55 per cent of those surveyed agree that the majority ethnic group deserves special rights, citing its purported native status.

Meanwhile, 26 per cent of respondents agreed that other ethnic minorities deserve less of a say in Malaysia.

This survey was conducted on September 3 and involved 1,027 respondents among Vase.ai’s online panel that was selected using active quota-sampling method.

All respondents aged 18 years old and above were quota-sampled according to census statistics by race, gender, age and region of residence. There were no open ended questions in this survey.

Individuals aged 65 and above are under-represented, likely due to lower rates of Internet usage among those above 60, the survey said. 

The organisers said this survey was commissioned in order to understand the Malaysians’ opinion on contemporary social and economic issues, as well as understudied opinions.

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