Monash University

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Islamization in Malaysia: the constitutional and legal dimensions

posted on 2017-02-06, 02:15 authored by Choo, Kah Sing
This thesis examines the legitimacy of the Islamization of the politics, society and law in Malaysia. The Islamization plan was carried out by the federal government in the early 1980s under the Mahathir administration. The legitimacy of the Islamization plan is measured against the original intent of the Independence Constitution, with particular reference to the position of Islam in the Constitution. Those constitutional provisions which have been claimed to have granted Islam as the main and dominant religion in the Federation are examined. The thesis also examines the responses of the civil judiciary. The civil court judges did not resist the federal government’s Islamization plan. Instead, they have supported the Islamization plan through judicial interpretation of the constitutional provisions - they changed the original meaning of ‘Islam is the religion of the Federation’ in Article 3(1). The Islamization phenomenon has seriously undermined the supreme and secular nature of the Federal Constitution. The impact of the Islamization process, with particular reference to the exercise of religious freedom is examined. The thesis argues that the federal government’s Islamization plan was deployed for political reasons, and that the entire Islamization plan which was carried out by the Mahathir’s administration is contrary to the original intent of the Federal Constitution. Consequently, the legitimacy of the federal government’s Islamization plan is highly questionable.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Hoong Phun Lee

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Law