World Watch List Rank46
World Watch List Score63/100
LeaderSultan Abdullah of Pahang
Population32,869,000 | 2,991,000 Christians
Main ReligionIslam
WWL Rank in 202040
Persecution LevelVery High Persecution

In Malaysia, the government and religious groups monitor churches and it is illegal to share the gospel with Malay Muslims. Converts from Islam to Christianity experience the most persecution, as every ethnic Malay is expected to be Muslim. These believers are often forced to hide their faith and meet in secret. If discovered, they could face divorce from their spouse, rejection from their family—or even risk being sent to a re-education camp.   

There have been abductions of certain Christians in recent yearsPastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth have been missing for more than three years now, after they disappeared from their home in the state of Selangor. Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted and has been missing since February 2017. His whereabouts are still unknown, and according to the findings of the country`s human rights commission, Malaysia’s Special Branch of the police was involved in the abduction.  


Though Malaysia dropped by six ranks on the 2021 World Watch List from last year, the reality of persecution in the country remained largely unchanged. While there was some hope for a new openness in Malaysia after elections in 2018, to a great extent this has not happened. The hopes that came with the new government and its seeming commitment to more religious liberty have been replaced with disappointment, and persecution against followers of Jesus has not changed much at all.  


Given the increasing restrictions that the Malaysian government and society places upon the local churches and new believers, Open Doors calls for prayers from Christians, worldwide. Prayers are especially needed for new believers who are thirsty for spiritual nourishment and fellowship.


Pray for believers meeting in secret. Ask God to protect them and that they may gather safely.

Pray for religious freedom across Malaysia. Today, it is illegal to share the gospel with Malay Muslims—and it is also unlawful for Malay Muslims to leave Islam for Christianity.

Pray for Malay believers who have left Islam and are often isolated and cut off from their family members for embracing Jesus. Ask God to give them special grace and that they would know and feel they are never alone.


Using storytelling to grow the church

20th Oct 2021

Found in Prayer News

Two thousand years ago, Jesus used parables and questions to captivate his listeners. This method provoked critical thinking among his listeners, so that they would…

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Susanna Koh receives your letters of encouragement

26th Feb 2021

Found in Prayer News

On Wednesday, February 24, Open Doors partners were able to visit Susanna Koh to pass on your letters of encouragement. “It’s so wonderful!” she said…

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Four Years Since Pastor Raymond Koh was Abducted

10th Feb 2021

Found in Prayer News

This week marks four years since the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh. On February 13, 2017, CCTV captured footage of Raymond being lured out of…

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Relief Aid for Believers Affected by Flood in Malaysia

24th Sep 2020

Found in Prayer News

The Malaysian region of Sarawak has seen massive flooding last week. Heavy rains and thunderstorms saw water levels rise about a meter high. Many families…

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