Total Population: 30,638,000
Unreached Population: 16,050,000 (52.4%)
Number of People Groups: 187
Number of Unreached People Groups: 84 (44.9%)
Largest Religious Group: Islam (56.1%)
Professing Christians: 8.5% (3.26% Evangelicals)
Consisting of Malay Peninsula and the states of Sabah and Sarawak that is separated by the South China Sea, Malaysia is a melting pot of religions, languages and cultures that enjoy a very volatile and fragile harmony. 50.4% of its population are Malays, with 23.7% being Chinese, 11% indigenous people, 7.1% Indians and the rest being minority people groups.
Islam is the largest religious group with 56.1% adherents while Christians only make up close to 9%. According to the constitution, a Malay is defined as one who embraces Islam and practises Malay customs. No Malay can be converted to any other religion while proselytization of Muslims is punishable by law.
Malaysia consisting of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak was initially formed in 1963, prior to Singapore gaining independence 2 years later. Since 1970s, Islamic resurgence has been evident, a period when a new wave of modern Islamic uprising in Iran impacted Muslim countries worldwide. Non-Muslims struggled to enjoy the freedom of religion, and Christians in particular, constantly encounter challenges to openly profess, practise and propagate their faith.
In recent years, Muslim-Christian relations entered a new low stemming from the use of the ‘Allah’ word in the Malay Bibles, which climaxed with a series of churches in different cities being fire-bombed across a week in January 2010. Despite facing persecutions and many pressing national issues, this serves to unify the churches to work more closely with each other while remaining relevant to the changing times and seeking every opportunity to spread the hope of the Gospel as the salt and light of the nation.
Pray for Malaysia
1. Pray for the Church in Malaysia to be willing to sacrifice and pay the cost of discipleship and revival amidst the political instability;
2. Pray for courageous Christian leaders to stand up for injustice while pursuing harmony with other faiths in the multi-religious society;
3. Pray for Malaysian Christians to be an effective Christian witness among increasing foreign laborers and refugees who came to the nation seeking for better working opportunities and living conditions.