KUALA LUMPUR: A Muslim NGO has spoken out against a decree by the Sultan Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, who had last month ordered a Muslim-only launderette in Muar to cease its discriminatory business practice.
Malaysia Ahli Sunnah Waljamaah Organisation (Aswaja) president Zamihan Mat Zin said it is not right of the sultan, as the head of Islam in the state, to issue such a decree.
Zamihan, speaking at the Masjid Diraja Tengku Ampuan Jemaah, Bukit Jelutong in Shah Alam last week, did not name the Sultan of Johor in his sermon but gave strong hints that he was referring to Sultan Ibrahim.
“There is a Sultan who said ‘Muslim-friendly laundrettes should not be set up in my state’, and that ‘this is not a Taliban state’.
“The ruler should not have said that,” said Zamihan, whose talk was shared on YouTube.
Zamihan, who is believed to be a Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) officer, also criticised Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri and Perlis Mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, for supporting Sultan Ibrahim’s decision.
“The muftis support this kafir-friendly laundry. Is this smart? This is no longer Sunnah Wal Jamaah, this is a disaster,” he said.
In his talk, he also stressed that Muslim clothing should not be allowed to mix with clothes worn by non-Muslims, as they could be contaminated with “impurities”.
After the talk, Zamihan asked the congregation whether they agreed or disagreed with his stand. However, no one responded.
He said he was not afraid to speak up against the authorities, including the Sultan.
“I am not afraid, regardless of whether this talk is recorded, manipulated or edited. There are some who are making this video to be sent to ministers, to sultans, to the King. Please do. Why should we be afraid if we are telling the truth?”
Last month, a Muar launderette owner courted controversy when a signboard outside his establishment stated that the business was only open to Muslims. His policy drew widespread criticism from various quarters, including the Johor ruler.
Sultan Ibrahim had said that the incident had shamed the people of Johor and warned Johoreans against practising any form of discrimination.
The launderette owner subsequently apologised and took down the sign, after saying that he had instituted the policy only as a ‘business decision’.
Soon after the incident, another launderette, this time in Perlis, triggered similar controversy with its identical policy. The launderette operator, upon advice from the Perlis mufti, subsequently changed his business practice and said it was merely a ‘marketing strategy’ for his two-month-old launderette.