Malaysia, a country of contrasts….beautiful tropical beaches, mountain jungles, modern cities, a world class airport and Formula One Grand Prix car racing. With the rapid changes of the last 30 – 50 years, traditional values are under pressure. Western materialism and immorality is duelling with more traditional family and Islamic values. There is a vibrant church among the Chinese and Indian minorities; but significant portions of the Malay Muslim majority have no witness and almost no churches for Muslim background believers. The fundamentalists among the Muslim majority (55% of the population), are wanting Malaysia to be an Islamic State. These rapid changes taking place in Malaysia have brought an acceleration of Muslim missionary activities as well as discriminatory legislation and actions against non-Muslims.
Shahid of Malaysia
Shahid, like many rural Malays came to the capital Kuala Lumpur (KL) looking for a job and some big city excitement. He stays with five other young men in a three room apartment near the electronics factory where they work. One of his roommates has been encouraging him to use drugs, a massive problem among young, urban Malays. One of Shahid’s other room mates recently joined with a radical Muslim group that wants to see a more Islamic government take over from the current moderate government.
Malaysia – Looking for Answers
Shahid had left behind the quiet, conservative (and sometimes boring) village life he grew up with; but he is beginning to feel the emptiness of the big city thrills of massive shopping malls, night-clubs and drugs. Maybe he should follow his roommate to a meeting and see if a more radical form of Islam can give him a purpose to live for. Adding to Shahid’s confusion is his constant concern for his recently divorced sister Haslina and her daughter Noor. How can they face the future financially or socially? There are millions like Shahid and Haslina in Malaysia; looking for answers, with almost no Christians who are willing or able to point the way to the Saviour. Many of Malaysia’s Christians have never thought to much about how to lead their Muslim neighbours to Christ. The cultural and relational gaps between them and the Muslim community are sometimes enormous.
NOTE: In 1981 the Malay Language Bible was partially banned – only Christians are allowed to purchase and own one. The number of places of worship have been limited which affects the status of independent churches. Public gatherings of five or more people are also officially outlawed.
Pray for the Muslims of Malaysia
* Pray for the political leaders of Malaysia that as they serve their people, God would give them wisdom and enable them to lead their nation in justice.
* Pray for the church to be bold and courageous, that fear would not be their hindrance in sharing the Gospel, in the midst of the current persecution.
* Pray that the Muslim Malays would have a revelation of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The risen Christ will help them turn from the things that would bring destructive influences into their lives.
* Pray for the younger generation to find their place and role in society. Pray for employment opportunities and for them to have hope in the future.
* Pray for wisdom and guidance for the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) in Malaysia.
Background on Malaysia (World Factbook)
During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia; these were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo joined the Federation. The first several years of the country’s history were marred by Indonesian efforts to control Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore’s secession from the Federation in 1965.
Economy of Malaysia
Malaysia, a middle-income country, transformed itself from 1971 through the late 1990s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy. Growth was almost exclusively driven by exports – particularly of electronics. As a result, Malaysia was hard hit by the global economic downturn and the slump in the information technology (IT) sector in 2001 and 2002. Malaysia “unpegged” the ringgit from the US dollar in 2005 and the currency appreciated 6% against the dollar in 2006. Healthy foreign exchange reserves and a small external debt greatly reduce the risk that Malaysia will experience a financial crisis over the near term.
Population: 29,628,392 (July 2013 est.) World rank #43
Life Expectancy at Birth: 74.28 years. World rank #118
Ethnic groups: Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, Indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%, others 7.8%
Muslim 60.4%, Buddhist 19.2%, Christian 9.1%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 2.6%, other or unknown 1.5%, none 0.8% note – in addition, Shamanism is practiced in East Malaysia
Languages: Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai
note: in East Malaysia there are several indigenous languages; most widely spoken are Iban and Kadazan
Literacy: 93.1% — Male: 95.4%, Female: 90.7%
School life expectancy: 13 years
“At the Crossroads – Malaysia – Video”
There are claims Malaysia’s secular constitution is being threatened by creeping Islamisation. A documentary.