RETRACT CIR­CU­LAR

New Straits Times - - News - YU­SOF MO­HAMAD

“More im­por­tantly, it is dis­re­spect­ful of the Yang di-Per­tuan Agong as the head of Is­lam in the coun­try, the state Fatwa Coun­cil and Mus­lims, in gen­eral,” he told the New Straits Times yes­ter­day.

He said there were no rules or reg­u­la­tions in Is­lamic or the coun­try’s laws which al­lowed a state govern­ment to re­view fatwa or add steps in the gazetting of a fatwa.

“Con­sid­er­ing this, it is not right for the DAP-led state govern­ment to is­sue such a cir­cu­lar. This goes to prove that the state govern­ment likes to in­ter­fere in Is­lamic af­fairs,” he said.

On Sun­day, Pe­nang Pas had de­manded the state govern­ment retract its cir­cu­lar on the is­suance of fatwa in the state.

Its com­mis­sioner, Muham­mad Fauzi Yu­soff, said that the pre­vi­ous state ad­min­is­tra­tion, led by Barisan Na­sional, Ger­akan and Umno, had never in­ter­fered in state Fatwa Coun­cil mat­ters.

Ear­lier this year, Pe­nang Pas Youth re­vealed that there was po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion by the state govern­ment in the ap­point­ment of the state mufti and fatwa process. It was also re­vealed that sev­eral fatwa had al­legedly been blocked by the state govern­ment.

A hue and cry fol­lowed, with Muslim non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions hold­ing protests and lodg­ing po­lice re­ports against the al­leged in­ter­fer­ence by the state govern­ment.

Per­sat­uan Anak Jati Me­layu Is­lam chair­man Yu­sof Mo­hamad said the state govern­ment should not in­ter­fere with the is­suance of fatwa in the first place.

“The is­suance of fatwa is a mat­ter for the state Fatwa Coun­cil and Yang di-Per­tuan Agong to de­cide, and not the state govern­ment. The state govern­ment’s duty is to ad­min­is­ter the state, not Is­lamic af­fairs.”

Umno law­maker Datuk Muham­mad Farid Saad said con­ven­tion stated that the state Fatwa Coun­cil should send all fatwa they de­cided on to the Yang di-Per­tuan Agong.

“The Yang di-Per­tuan Agong will de­lib­er­ate on the said fatwa and de­cide whether to en­dorse it. If he de­cides to en­dorse the fatwa, it will be sent to the state Fatwa Coun­cil to be gazetted. In Pe­nang, a group of state ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil­lors, com­pris­ing mostly non-Mus­lims, will de­cide on whether to al­low the fatwa to go for­ward. This is wrong.”

He said the Yang di-Per­tuan Agong, as the head of Is­lam, was the best per­son to de­cide on a fatwa in­stead of Chief Min­is­ter Lim Guan Eng.

Pe­nang Pas Youth chief Af­nan Hamimi Taib Aza­mud­den said Pas had, for the past four months, been ask­ing for the state govern­ment to retract its cir­cu­lar and al­low pre­vi­ously blocked fatwa to pass. How­ever, he said, the state govern­ment had ig­nored Pas’ re­quest.

He said the state govern­ment should retract its cir­cu­lar or face los­ing a ma­jor­ity of Muslim vot­ers in the next gen­eral elec­tion.

Mean­while, state Is­lamic Re­li­gious Com­mit­tee chair­man Datuk Ab­dul Ma­lik Abul Kas­sim said he stood by his ear­lier state­ments that there was no in­ter­fer­ence by the state govern­ment.

The is­suance of fatwa is a mat­ter for the state Fatwa Coun­cil and Yang di-Per­tuan Agong to de­cide, and not the state govern­ment.

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