The 1996 fatwa [recognizing "Sunni Islam" as the official religion of Malaysia] was a pivotal turning point that paved the way for subsequent efforts at "othering" the Shia minority, and through this to discredit and deny them their human rights. That the fatwa was a federal initiative--rather than a state one--ought to have raised warning bells about the central government overstapping its boundaries and encroaching on to the jurisdiction state governments had over Islam. The debate touched on the historical differences between the Sunnis and Shias, or, "sects being treated as religious phenomenon", and it resulted in tremendous bias against the Shias.
Sunni-Shia Reconciliation in Malaysia.” In Alternative Voices in Muslim Southeast Asia: Discourses and Struggles. Singapore: ISEAS.Abstract. 2020. “