In Malaysia, Shariah law essentially requires Muslims to only wed other Muslims, meaning that interfaith relationships must end in Islam if marriage comes into the picture.Although there is technically an exemption for men who can demonstrate that they are members of the other Abrahamic faiths, such as Christianity and Judaism, this is rarely enough applied to be non-existent.
Priyenshar Sebastian, 22, said while she does not judge friends who engage in premarital sex, she felt sexual relations should only be with her married partner.
“I know it sounds very traditional, to me I believe in keeping myself pure for the guy, not only physically, emotionally, but in all forms just for that one person.
“With a certain religion in Malaysia, because of the laws, it’s a bit hard to have a relationship with someone from a different religion,” Gary George, 29, said without specifically naming Islam.
When asked about being in a relationship, 45 per cent said it “happens only if it’s at the right time” while a third said it “something that needs to be given a lot of consideration”; only 15 per cent said it is the natural course in life.
Sociologist Dr Hew Cheng Sim, an associate professor at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, said with urban millennials in particular will “certainly be more liberal and exposed to a wider world view” than the generation before them because they were brought up with the presence of the Internet.