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Sabah has highest number of Muslims denouncing Islam

The Islamic Affairs Minister Jamil Khir Baharom has denied a Malaysiakini report that 135 applications to renounce the Islamic faith had been approved between 2000 and 2010.

However, the report was based on the written answer given by Jamil himself in the Parliament.

According to a Bernama report yesterday, Jamil claimed that no application has been approved to date by the Syariah Courts.

He explained that all the 135 apostasy applications were studied by the Syariah courts which then found that the applicants were not qualified as Muslims in the first place.

“There was confusion there. For example, an individual who is Muslim applied to revert to his or her original religion. After investigation, the court found that he is not a Muslim, therefore there is no issue of apostasy.

“It is like couple who applied for divorce but the court found out that their marriage in Thailand is not valid because there was no witness and guardian, therefore there is no issue of divorce,” he told Bernama.

On Tuesday, Malaysiakini reported that a total of 686 applications to renounce the Islamic faith were received by the Syariah courts between 2000 and 2010.

The written answer was provided by Jamil's ministry in response to a question raised by Bakri MP Er Teck Hwa.

The question was “Er Tech Hwa (Bakri) requests the Prime Minister to state the total number of apostasy applications of Muslim and how many applications have been approved according to state from 2000 to 2010, and the steps taken by Islamic Religious Department to address the problem of apostasy”.

The answer by Jamil was, “The total number of applications by Muslims to change their religious status in Syariah Court from 2000 to 2010 is 863, 168 out of this number have been approved”.

It was then followed by a table listing the applications and approval numbers in each state.

However, the total number provided in the answer does not tally with the numbers in each state.

Malaysiakini added up the number for all the states and found that the total number of applications is 686 while the number of approvals is 135.

NGOs: Study reasons behind apostasy

In another related development, several Islamic NGOs have urged the government to study the reasons behind apostasy, otherwise the problem cannot be addressed effectively.

“I think we need to have a thorough study on why Muslims want to renounce Islam because we still don't know what causes them to do so,” said Muhd Razak Idris, president of Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM).

The view was shared by Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) president Zaid Kamaruddin.

“Actually there are many problems (faced by the applicants) but it is hard for them to voice out, other than to the people they trust,” he said.

He suggested that the focus should be placed on Sabah because it has recorded the highest number of apostates - 238 cases.

Meanwhile, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Dakwah Islamiyah Malaysia (Pekida) president Jamaludin Yusof demanded the religious authorities to study how Muslims are influenced by others to renounce their religion.


  1. "Study why they renounce their religion". This is a stupid statement. Religious belief is a personal matter and it is NOT for another persons to poke their nose into it!!

  2. Yeah exactly ! Stupid Malaysian authorities, always a busy body ! Religion is a personal matter, why must the state interfere? Sick KL


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