When Karpal says Malaysia is a secular state, he is only partially correct. What he forgets is that in our Constitution it is stated that The Head of Govt is a Malay Ruler, whereas a Malay Ruler MUST be a Muslim and he would also be the Head of Islam of a State.
A Muslim is obliged to accept the Laws of Islam . When a Muslim has to accept the operations of the Syariah court, can we fairly say then that he is secular?
Hence, when the Constitution says that Islam is the Religion of the Federation ( Article 3) , it also states that while other religions may be practiced freely "dengan aman & damai". I take that to mean without threatening Islam or its continued practice by the professed Muslims.
How then can we say Malaysia is a secular state in the case of the Muslims? Do not forget that Muslims form the majority of Malaysia still.