Penang Umno today questioned state executive councillor for religion Abdul Malik Kassim over his remark that he did not interfere in the decisions of the fatwa committee when there was a letter to prove otherwise.
State Umno liaison chairperson Zainal Abidin Osman said the letter was purportedly sent by Malik to former state mufti Hassan Ahmad in 2010.
In the letter, Malik had said he was disappointed that the prohibition of the term Allah on non-Muslims in Penang, was gazetted without his knowledge.
Malik had also cited Section 48(4) of the Penang Islamic Religion Administration Enactment which stated that when a fatwa is approved by the Yang diPertuan Agong, the state fatwa committee must inform the state government so that the fatwa can be gazetted.
Malik had insisted that he did not interfered in the fatwa decision regarding the prohibition of the term Allah for non-Muslims.
"Malik's excuse that there was no interference because the state fatwa committee did not follow his request stated in the letter is of no use.
"The question whether the state fatwa committee complied with Malik's or the DAP state government's requests or not does not mean there was no interference," Zainal said in a statement.
"What is the real reason and intention of Malik to sent the directive via the letter to the state fatwa committee?" he asked.
Zainal was referring to a letter dated May 26, 2010, purportedly issued to the former mufti.
He said the letter was copied to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who chaired the state executive council meeting.
Zainal said the letter proved that the remarks by former state mufti Hassan Ahmad and state fatwa committee member Salleh Ahmad that there was state interference in fatwa decisions were "true."
He said this despite the present state mufti Wan Salim Mohd Noor denying such interference, saying that fatwa that was up for gazette will be made known to the state executive council before being submitted to the Agong.
Zainal said this contradicted the 2004 Penang Islamic Religion Administration Enactment.
He said if there are any fatwa "held back" by the state government from being gazetted, it is "an insult" to the Agong and governor, who is the state's Islamic religious head.
Meanwhile, Zainal urged Penang Islamic Affairs Council (MAIPP) president Salleh Man to state his stand on the matter.
Malaysiakini had contacted Salleh, PAS sole assemblyperson in the state, but he declined to be dragged into the verbal war between his party and the state.
"We have not heard a single word from him since PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's remark about the Penang government led by DAP," Zainal said.
Hadi had accused the state government of marginalising the Muslims, while he snubbed Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang's olive branch to join the opposition to "Save Malaysia".
The previous BN government never interfered in the fatwa decisions as they did not have to be tabled at the state executive meeting, Zainal noted.
"We hope the DAP-led state government does not interfere with Islamic affairs in the state including fatwa decisions and zakat issues and allow the religion and its activities to be administered according to the 2004 Penang Islamic Affairs Enactment," stressed Zainal.- Mkini