By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal (The Malaysian Insider)
SHAH ALAM, Nov 3 — PAS MP Khalid Samad today called on the Selangor government to conduct a review and study of the state’s Islamic laws, with specific references to the issue of permits or “tauliah” which is currently a requirement in order for an individual to conduct a sermon or religious lectures.
At a press conference this morning, he said recent events involving former Perlis mufti Dr. Mohd. Asri Zainul Ariffin’s arrest and his own case had prompted him to issue this statement to his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) colleagues.
“Pakatan Rakyat has a responsibility to change their administration, so that it won’t be like the past Umno state government, which had a totally different take on Islam... which was repressive,” said Khalid.
Khalid, who is also Shah Alam MP, said that the basis of issuing permits to religious figures so they can conduct sermons “reeked of politics” and that the enactment needs to be reviewed and reassesed, as Pakatan Rakyat should be pushing for reform and change.
“I conducted a sermon at the Section 19 Al-Huda Mosque, and the next thing I know I received a letter from Selangor police stating that I did not have a permit to do so,which was strange because I had previously obtained a temporary permit from Jais,” said Khalid.
According to him, Jais had interviewed him last year and he had received the temporary tauliah or permit on July 10, 2008 to teach and preach.
“Then I get a letter from the police stating that my permit cannot be changed to a permanent one and my current one had to be cancelled as well because I supposedly had a criminal record.”
The Shah Alam MP was puzzled as to the criminal record as he was not aware he had one.
However, a check with Bukit Aman revealed that the office did not issue him a letter regarding the criminal offence which prevented him from obtaining the official permit.
“When I asked them to provide details of my alleged offence, they refused by saying that I needed to go through Jais in order to obtain the information.
“Why should Jais enquire for me as it is my own “criminal record?” said Khalid who was perplexed as to why there was so much confusion and lack of transparency in the matter.
“There is a rumour that the SMS sent by the Jais high official instructing law enforcers to look into my case was also sent to the Shah Alam Umno division chief, and that he was also the one who had issued a complaint on my sermon,” said the PAS man, who alluded that Jais’ credibililty might be questionable as the existing enactments are politically motivated and serve Umno’s interests.
Khalid called on the Selangor government to study and redefine the current laws surrounding permits, and also the anti-beer laws as these laws are repressive and do not reflect the freedom that Pakatan Rakyat represents.
“What happened to Dr Asri should not have happened in a Pakatan Rakyat-led state. Enactments that were approved by the previous BN government were based on repressive philosophies and we cannot be tied down to that system of governance.”
He added that there was a strong possibility that Dr Asri’s arrest was politically motivated in falsely portraying Pakatan Rakyat Selangor as being repressive.
The former Perlis Mufti was recently arrested for conducting a sermon without a permit.
Jais on their part has strongly denied any political motivations in the maverick religious scholar’s arrest.
Khalid has also instructed his lawyers to issue a notice to the Bukit Aman police to provide details on his case. If they do not respond, he will take the matter to court.
“People voted for us because they wanted to see change. What’s the point of us being here if we continue to run things the way they (BN) did?”
Source: The Malaysian Insider
-Pejabat YB Khalid Samad-