Malaysia, Southeast Asia
Political Leader: Incumbent Najib Tun Razak
Religions: Islam 58%, Buddhism 21.6%, Other 11.2%, Christianity 9.2%
Persecution Ranking: Not Ranked
Number of Terrorist Groups: 7 Malaysia
Acts of Terrorism: 13; Casualties: 110
Percent of Corruption: 50%
% of People in Poverty: 5.1%
Malaysia is a federation of thirteen states in Southeast Asia. The country consists of two geographical regions divided by the South China Sea: Peninsular Malaysia (or West Malaysia) on the Malay Peninsula shares a land border on the north with Thailand and is connected by the Johor-Singapore Causeway and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link to the south with Singapore. It consists of nine sultanates (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu), two states headed by governors (Malacca and Penang), and two federal territories (Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur). Malaysian Borneo (or East Malaysia) occupies the northern part of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and surrounding the Sultanate of Brunei. It consists of the states of Sabah and Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan.
Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) is an Islamic group based in Malaysia, specifically in the Malaysian states of Perak, Johor, Kedah, Selangor, Terengganu and Kelantan, as well as the federal territory of Wilayah Persukutuan. KMM is dedicated to overthrowing the current Malaysian government and then creating an Islamic state in its place. The group, however, does not limit its planned Islamic state to Malaysia, but also aims to include Indonesia and the southern Philippines, thus creating a pan-Southeast Asian Islamic state.
Many of KMM’s members have trained in terrorist camps in Afghanistan, and certain members fought in the Soviet-Afghan war. KMM has forged ties with other extremist Islamic groups in the region, including Jemaah Islamiyah and Laskar Jihad. Jemaah Islamiyah's leaders Abu Bakar Bashir and Riduan bin Isomoddin allegedly advise and assist KMM leaders.
The Malaysian government has detained dozens of KMM members. KMM’s alleged leader is currently being held by the Malaysian government. KMM members have allegedly been involved in assassinations, bombings, robberies and planning terrorist attacks on foreigners. Due to KMM’s alliance with Indonesian terrorist groups, KMM members have also been involved in terrorist attacks against Christians in Indonesia.
Muslims make up 58% of Malaysia’s population, while Christians comprise only about 9.2%. Malaysia brings together an interesting fusion of different people and cultures: Malay, Chinese, Indian and a growing immigrant workforce from Indonesia and the Philippines.
Challenges for Christians:
Sunni Islam is the official religion in West Malaysia and there is growing pressure for Malaysia to become more Islamic and introduce harsher Islamic laws. It is already illegal for anyone to share their faith with any Malay people because they are Muslims. The government restricts the distribution in peninsular Malaysia of Malay-language translations of the Bible, Christian tapes and other printed materials. In April 2005, the Prime Minister declared that copies of the Malay-language Bible must have the words “Not for Muslims” printed on the front and could be distributed only in churches and Christian bookshops.
- Pray that God will render powerless Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM), an Islamic group based in Malaysia. Pray for KMM’s ties with other extremist Islamic groups in the region, including Jemaah Islamiyah and Laskar Jihad to end. Pray against KMM’s terrorist attacks toward Christians in Indonesia.
- Pray that when the enemy comes against innocent people that the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against the enemy by sending forth weapons from His arsenal in heaven. (Exodus 15:3, 6-7 and Isaiah 59:19)
- Pray against demonic forces that are using the terrorists like puppets will be toppled, and that the people will be set free to worship the Lord. Pray that their leaders will experience conversion to Christianity. (1 Timothy 2:1–4)
- Pray especially against the work of extremists who should be labeled terrorists and dealt with by governmental authorities accordingly. (Proverbs 11:21)
- Pray for religious tolerance. Pray especially against the work of extremists who should be labeled terrorists and dealt with by governmental authorities accordingly. (Proverbs 11:21)
- Growing Islamic culture in Malaysia could make it harder for Malay Muslims to hear the truth about Jesus. Pray that Christians would still find opportunities to share the Gospel.
- Thank God that young East Malaysians, Chinese and Indians are becoming Christians in their schools and universities and in universities overseas. Pray that they will receive the discipleship and support they need to really grow in their faith.
- Few of the tribal groups in East Malaysia have heard about Jesus. At the moment there are not enough people to complete Bible translation into indigenous languages. Pray that more local Christians can be trained to get involved with this vital work.
Sources: 24-7 Prayer, Operation World, Wikipedia, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, Open Doors, the MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base, The World Factbook