SULTAN of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has hit out at a religious speaker for allegedly criticising him the ruler, in a rebuke which also saw a decree that the Johor Islamic Religious Department (JAIJ) must cease dealing with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim).
Sultan Ibrahim said such unbecoming behaviour of Zamihan Mat Zin, the president of the Malaysia Ahli Sunnah Waljamaah Organisation, who defied the ruler’s decree against a Muslim-only launderette in Muar, was a violation of the separation of jurisdiction between federal and state authorities over Islamic matters.
Zamihan had made an allegedly disparaging speech against the sultan and Islamic scholars in a video recording uploaded on YouTube on Oct 9.
“Several mufti and Islamic scholars have given their views on the issue of the launderette in Muar. Unfortunately, Zamihan criticised me and undermined the views of the mufti and scholars. The way he said it was also arrogant, as if only he is (in the) right, apart from insulting other races.
“If it is true that he is a Jakim speaker (penceramah), then I do not know where Jakim found him because, for me, he is like an empty can and brainless,” Sultan Ibrahim said in his address at the opening of the Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) convocation at its campus in Parit Raja yesterday.
He said the episode had earned his displeasure in him and directed that all dealings between Johor Islamic Religious Department JAIJ and Jakim cease.
“I am directing for JAIJ to stop wasting its time dealing with Jakim. Jakim has no need to give any views to Johor,” Sultan Ibrahim said.
The royal rebuke follows the stand taken by the recently concluded Conference of Rulers, which expressed concern about the divisive actions of people who have gone overboard in expressing their conviction.
The Malay rulers, who include Sultan Ibrahim, had said on Oct 10 that recent incidents had put the harmony in Malaysia’s diverse society on the line.
The Conference of Rulers had also echoed the strong stance of Sultan Ibrahim and Raja Muda of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail in prohibiting Muslim-only launderettes in both states.
Sultan Ibrahim said the incident had rendered Zamihan’s credibility as a religious figure questionable.
“When he was condemned over the matter, he denied saying those things. It seems that this ustaz has learned to lie. So, how are we supposed to learn anything from him.
“Do not lie to me. Following this (Zamihan’s alleged defiance), it is only enough for him (instead) to give a speech before the mirror and get to know himself.
“I am willing to listen to other people’s views, but not from those who are rude,” Sultan Ibrahim said.
Sultan Ibrahim said although he forgave Zamihan and wanted the issue to be resolved, he pointed out that the latter’s opinions were not in line with the laws governing Islamic matters.
He said that it was public knowledge that Islamic matters fell under a state’s jurisdiction, as stipulated in the Federation of Malaysia agreement.
“Do not let the mistake of one individual damage the agreement that has been in force for years.
“As the Malay saying goes, Jangan kerana nila setitik, rosak susu sebelanga.”
The ruler reiterated that such a mentality would portray Muslims as extremists and intolerant and in an analogy, he said even the physical handling of money would then be troublesome.
“The same money might have been touched (or used) by pork butchers, bartenders, or even came in to contact with the heaviest form of filth (najis berat).
“So, should the government issue “Muslim-friendly” notes then? Think, ladies and gentlemen.”
In the video, Zamihan who was speaking at Masjid Diraja Tengku Ampuan Jemaah in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam, had claimed that it was wrong for a sultan, as the head of Islam in the state, to issue such a decree.
Zamihan eventually apologised to Sultan Ibrahim in a statement but denied that he had mentioned the ruler by name.