39th Day

Posted On August 29, 2006

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PERLIS INDERA KAYANGAN,Perlis, Heavenly Paradise

Capital Kangar (Royal Capital: Arau)
Raja Raja Syed Faizuddin Putra
Regent Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalulail
Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Shahidan Bin Kassim

Statistics (Malaysia Statistics Dept., 2005)

Population 224,500 (est.): Malay 83.9%, Other Bumiputera 0.3%
(Siamese), Chinese 9.8%, Indian 1.3%, Others 2.9%, Noncitizens 1.8%

Religious breakdown (2000) Islam 84.5%, Buddhism 11.4%, Taoism/ Confucianism 1.4%, Hinduism 1.0%, Christianity 0.5%, Others 1.1%, No Religion 0.1%

Incidence of Poverty (2004) 6.3% (Hardcore: 1.7%)

Perlis, the smallest state in Malaysia, was formerly part of Kedah until Siam separated it into a separate principality in the early 19th century. Syed Hussain Jamalulail, of Arab descent and grandson of the Sultan of Kedah, became the first Raja of Perlis. His descendants still rule Perlis, but as rajas, instead of as sultans. It is said that the line of the ‘Syed’ is the direct blood descent of the Prophet Mohammad.

In recent years, the state government’s conservative Islamic policies on numerous social issues have created controversy.

1. God’s glory to shine upon the people that they may know there is a house not made with hands but eternal in the heavens.
2. Wisdom and discernment in the implementation of polygamy regulations. Uphold the sanctity of family institution. [The state government has eased polygamy regulations to deter Muslim men from marrying again in Southern Thailand. The move draws much opposition from the women’s groups]
3. Authorities to respect individual rights to religious freedom [In April 2000, the state of Perlis passed a Shari’a law subjecting Islamic “deviants” and apostates to 1 year of rehabilitation. The State also has a non-gazetted fatwa that a female Muslim convert who wants to re-convert back to her original
religion be killed, but, because this is not permissible under Malaysian law, she should be imprisoned for life.]
4. Strengthen the armed forces in curbing illegal activities [The borders crossing to Thailand at Padang Besar and Wang Kelian have become transit points for smuggling and entry of illegal immigrants.]
5. Commitment and effective measures to eradicate poverty among the rural poor. [Many are rice farmers. Recent devastating floods in 2005 have worsened the situation]
6. Church: Christians to be in the forefront in addressing social concerns; sufficient manpower and more church members may step forward to serve; stronger ties among different denominations.

“Prayer is to cover our town, city and nation with the presence of God, just like the water covers the sea” – Pr. Tan Beng Ling


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