For now, Malaysians still lack the imagination of what sort of multi-cultural or multi-religious society Malaysia will be. The absence of such a social vision contributes in large to a rather thin common ground or common culture that could serve to bring the different ethnic, religious and regional groups together. Although efforts have been made to define a narrative that would serve as a common social vision for Malaysia in terms of religious harmony and ethnic integration, details are still somewhat sketchy for an ideal. This state of affairs impinges very much on freedom of religion and belief and its place within the national polity.
By: Stephen Bailey
Religious freedom is a human right that contributes to the well-being of individuals and society at large, but ASEAN governments often see this freedom as a threat to order and unity. There are some social demographic and cultural reasons for the tendency to resist expanding religious freedom in the region.