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.
“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.
“In the contemporary milieu, it is the freedom, vibrancy and comparative anonymity found in metropolitan centres where individuals often find the courage to push the boundaries of conventional social behaviour and racialised interpersonal relations if they so choose,” he said in an e-mail interview.
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.
When it comes to dating, these 18 to 32-year-olds said it is “less formal, less obligations, less expectations and less familial pressure” compared to previous generations.