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Questions over post-GE restrictions on mosque, TV speakers

A number of preachers have been banned while the committee of a mosque in Penang is accusing the state religious council of violating the regulations for the selection of members.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
3 minute read
Congregants sit before performing the Friday prayer at Masjid Sultan Abdul Samad in Sepang.
Congregants sit before performing the Friday prayer at Masjid Sultan Abdul Samad in Sepang.

Questions have arisen over a series of bans on preachers from appearing on television and speaking at mosques since the formation of the government, following the removal of a mosque chairman in Penang who was voted into his position. 

Earlier this month, Muslim preacher Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah was barred from appearing as a panellist on a popular Islamic talk show by public broadcaster RTM.

Ridhuan had been a regular panel speaker for the programme since its first broadcast in early 2000. 

In Pahang, meanwhile, a state assembly representative was banned from lecturing at a mosque in Jengka where he had actively spoken for the past three years. 

Chenor assemblyman Mujibur Rahman Ishak was blocked despite his claim that he had never spoken on political matters. 

And in Penang, the management of a mosque established some two years ago has accused the state religious council of violating the regulations for the selection of mosque committee members.

This followed the mass resignation of 14 committee members at Masjid Bandar Tasek Mutiara in Simpang Empat. 

One of the committee members who spoke to MalaysiaNow said the Penang State Islamic Religious Council (MAIPP) had gone against the results of the election conducted at the mosque in August. 

"Ustaz An Nur was chosen through a democratic process as the committee chairman," the committee member said on condition of anonymity. 

"But the individuals elected for the second and third highest positions were appointed as chairman and deputy chairman without any explanation whatsoever by MAIPP.

"Many are now confused and asking why Ustaz An Nur was sidelined." 

MalaysiaNow understands that the resignation of the 14 committee members will take effect on Jan 1. 

The committee member said Ustaz An Nur had run uncontested for the position of chairman, thereby receiving the highest number of votes from the mosque members. 

"It's actually a long process," the committee member added. 

"We as members of the committee try to follow what the religious council decides. We register the mosque members, and that takes a long time. 

"We also hired people to enter the names into a database, just for this election. But in the end, the results of the election were not honoured." 

The committee member said complaints had been made over the past two years about individuals rather than the mosque facilities. 

"Ustaz An Nur comes from PAS, but he has never spoken about politics in his talks," the committee member added. 

"And during the buka puasa season last year, the mosque invited politicians from all of the parties to attend. Leaders from DAP, PAS and Umno alike came." 

The committee member also questioned the response of MAIPP chairman Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abd Rahman, saying the deputy chief minister had only sent a representative from the council to discuss the issue with the mosque committee. 

"He never came to meet us himself. So we decided to resign to show solidarity with the mosque members who voted as well as Ustaz An Nur who was elected." 

Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Muhyiddin Yassin was among those who voiced concern over the matter, saying action should not be taken merely over differences in political opinions. 

In a statement on Monday, he said that many influential parties including independent preachers and celebrities had openly supported PN during the general election. 

He said others had also expressed support for Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional. 

"That is their right in a democratic country. After the election is over, there should be no action against anyone over their support for any political party. 

"Only then can it be said that elections in our country are conducted freely, fairly and competitively."

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