Penang PAS Youth chief Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudeen has claimed that the press had "inaccurately reported" what he said on alleged political interference in the appointment of the state mufti.
This had led to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and exco member in charge of Islamic affairs Abdul Malik Kassim to issue replies based on wrong information, said Afnan.
"(They) sarcastically asked about what was the punishment for slander. But their statements were based on inaccurate reports by Berita Harian and New Straits Times.
"This caused them to make inaccurate statements and that is why Lim had asked the two newspapers to apologise to him in 48 hours (instead of suing me)," Afnan told Malaysiakini.
As a Muslim and practitioner of PAS' matured political culture, Afnan said he was willing to forgive Lim and Malik.
"With a big heart, I forgive Lim and Malik for wrongly accusing me of slander, even though it is them who should be saying sorry to me,” Afnan said. "Thank you Lim Guan Eng for clearing my name."
On Sunday, both Berita Harian and NST had quoted Afnan's posting on Facebook which questioned why Hassan Ahmad's contract as state mufti was not renewed.
Afnan had speculated that Hassan's contract was not renewed over the controversy surrounding whether non-Muslims could use the term "Allah" in Penang.
He claimed that Lim had instructed his exco to vet all fatwa (religious edicts) before they are submitted to the Agong, to which was met by objections from Hassan.
"After that Hassan’s contract was not renewed, and he was replaced by present mufti Wan Salim Mohd Noor," said Afnan.
However, Wan Salim had denied claims of political interference and urged PAS not to politicise the matter.
Earlier today, Abdul Malik told reporters that Afnan's allegations were untrue because the controversy over the use of the term "Allah" by non-Muslims occurred in 2010 while Hassan's contract was renewed four times until 2014.
In 2010, the Penang Fatwa Committee gazetted 40 words, including Allah, which non-Muslims were not allowed to use. Following this, Lim issued a statement claiming that the fatwa was not binding on non-Muslims.
Many fatwa still 'stuck'
Afnan told Malaysiakini that he was not out to pick a fight with anyone but the issue must be raised to prevent political interference in religious matters.
"I think this issue can be resolved easily, with at least two actions.
"Cancel the procedure to direct all fatwa decisions to be tabled at the state executive council before submitting them to the Agong," he said.
"Allow the Penang Fatwa Committee its full rights to conduct its affairs as an independent authority in Islamic law and affairs in accordance with the 2004 Penang Islamic religious Administrative Enactment."
He said many fatwa are still "stuck" and yet to be submitted to the Agong because of the present arrangement, according to minutes of the committee meetings in March and April 2015.- Mkini