Malaysia’s Constitution defines ethnic Malays as Muslims, leaving Malays with no choice but to identify as Muslim. They are dominant politically, and benefit from positive discrimination in business, education and the civil service, but a large ethnic Chinese minority holds economic power. The communities coexist in relative harmony, although racial and religious divides persist. Conversion to Christianity is against the law in almost all states, as is evangelism among Malay Muslims.
Political, social and religious instability is on the rise, while increasing intolerance towards Chinese, Indian and indigenous tribespeople affects Christians, too, as most belong to these minority groups. Political parties like PAS uphold and protect Islam.
Mahathir Mohamad became prime minister in May 2018 following his shock election victory over the coalition that has ruled the country for six decades since independence from Britain.