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Monday, June 5, 2017

Resident, organiser shed light on Sivarasa's presence at mosque



Following Selangor ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah’s admonishment of PKR lawmaker R Sivarasa and the committee of Masjid An-Nur Kampung Melayu Subang, it is understandable that both committee members and residents are tight-lipped on the matter.
The sultan had accused Sivarasa of crossing the line when the MP delivered a speech in the mosque's prayer hall on May 24.
One of the mosque’s committee members told Malaysiakini that although he was not present during the programme, the mosque’s committee members were told not to entertain queries from the media.
“I don’t know the details on what happened that night as I was in Makkah. But if you ask the other committee members they would say the same thing,” he said.
Malaysiakini then approached a group of local residents who had just finished performing the Asar prayers. Clearly, they were all perturbed about the incident.
One of them refused to speak on the matter, saying it would make him angry.
However, another long-time resident was willing to shed some light on what transpired that night.
The 65-year-old retiree, who was present during the programme, confirmed that Sivarasa’s speech did not touch on politics.
“He only spoke about contributions by the state government,” he added on condition of anonymity.
However, the resident questioned the placement of a bunting in front of the prayer hall, which featured the PKR logo.
“It would not have been political if the bunting with a PKR logo was not there. It would have been fine if only the state government logo was there. The bunting shouldn’t have been placed in the prayer hall,” he insisted.
The resident was also of the opinion that it would have been better for the programme to be held at the mosque’s compound instead of the prayer hall.
“Once, a Chinese man came to contribute bags of rice but he didn’t enter the mosque, the bags of rice were given here,” he said, pointing to the mosque’s compound.
He also admitted that Sivarasa's presence in the prayer hall had caused anger among some of the residents and those present.
“There was anger. Even the sultan was angry,” he added.
The resident also believes that the incident occurred due to the committee members' political alliances.
“The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) should ensure that half of the mosque’s committee members are made of representatives from both sides of the political divide.
“Currently, more than 80 percent of the committee comprise those who are in support of the state government,” he claimed.
When contacted, Sivarasa denied that he was responsible for the bunting.
“Not at all. As I have said in my earlier press statement of May 31, the programme was organised by the Kota Damansara state constituency coordinating office,” Sivarasa told Malaysiakini.
'No official letter inviting Sivarasa'
The Kota Damansara state constituency coordinator, Mohd Radzlan Jalaludin, also confirmed that there was nothing political in Sivarasa’s speech.
“He mostly wished 'Selamat berpuasa' to those who attended and spoke about the state government’s commitment to support mosques and surau in Selangor,” Radzlan told Malaysiakini.
He explained that it was customary for him to list out programmes under the Kota Damansara state constituency coordinating office in a special WhatsApp group, in which Sivarasa is also a member.
“When he came to know about the programme, he expressed his intention to attend it. There was no official letter inviting him or anything like that.
“His name was not added on the list of those who were supposed to give speeches in the programme’s itinerary.
Only the mosque’s nazir (administrator) and I were supposed to give speeches,” he said.
Radzlan also pointed out that he was the one who organised the programme.
“It was my programme, not his. Even the contribution was mine, not his. Poor me. I was the one who contributed but Sivarasa became known for it,” he quipped.
On why the programme was not conducted at the mosque’s compound, Radzlan pointed out that Sivarasa was not originally part of the programme.

“The programme had started when he came, we couldn’t just leave him outside. The emcee who saw him arrive welcomed him and invited him to say a few words as MP,” he said.
As for the bunting, Radzlan said it was originally placed outside the prayer hall, beside the registration counter, when the mosque representatives came to register themselves.
“I don't know who placed the bunting inside the prayer hall. I noticed that it was already inside when it was my time to give a speech,” he added.- Mkini

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