How many Christians are there in Malaysia?
There are 32.5 million people living in Malaysia, where Christians make up nine per cent of the population, numbering almost three million.
Why are Christians persecuted in Malaysia?
While the state is officially secular, the constitution defines ethnically Malay people as Muslims, and leaving Islam is illegal for them in almost every state. Believers from Muslim backgrounds face the most severe persecution.
The government has a policy of favouring Malay and indigenous people in terms of housing, schooling and tax benefits. However, in practice this only applies as long as they are Muslims. If they become Christians, their privileges are quickly withdrawn. Christians from the Indian and Chinese minorities also miss out on these benefits.
What’s life like for Christians in Malaysia?
Pastor Raymond Koh, a church leader in Malaysia, was kidnapped in February 2017 and is still missing today.
CCTV cameras picked up footage of his car being surrounded by three other cars. Fifteen men, all wearing masks, bundled a man out of the first car into one of the other cars, which then all drove away.
Since then, his wife, Susannah, has been fighting tirelessly for his release. “Please continue to support us by speaking out for the truth and for justice to be done,” she says.
A report carried out by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, SUHAKAM (Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia), concluded that his disappearance was executed by state agents. Following that announcement, the Malaysian Home Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin, announced that a special taskforce would investigate his abduction. However, there has been widespread criticism of the makeup of the taskforce, which is made up of former and currently serving police officers, one of whom participated in the SUHAKAM hearing.
Susannah is refusing to give up. “I have hope that he is still alive… Even if he’s not alive, I believe that he’s where God is – and he will always be my hero.”
Christians from Muslim backgrounds often hide their faith and meet together in secret. If discovered, they could face rejection from their family, or be forced to divorce their partner. Occasionally they may be sent to a re-education camp, or simply ‘disappear’.
Churches are monitored by the government, and it is illegal to share the gospel with Malay Muslims.
How can I help Christians in Malaysia
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Malaysia. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors helps strengthen and equip the church living under Islamic governance or at threat from Islamic extremists.
“We are thankful for the support of local churches and Christians all over the world and their prayers.” Susannah Koh, wife of kidnapped Pastor Raymond
Lord Jesus, thank You for the faith of our sisters and brothers in Malaysia. Please comfort Pastor Raymond and his family, and bring him home safe. Surround secret believers with Your peace and Your love, and help them find opportunities to draw others to You.