Sunday, August 29, 2010

Teo to apologise to Sultan over surau gaffe

KUALA LUMPUR: Serdang Member of Parliament Teo Nie Ching said she would seek an audience with the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, to apologise and explain her presence at a surau in Kajang on Sunday.

Her presence at the Al-Huda Surau in Kajang Sentral where she allegedly gave a talk in the prayer area has come under fire from various quarters.

Teo said in a statement that she had gone to the surau with the intention of handing over a Selangor government donation for repair of the fencing and to join in the breaking of fast with the surau committee and congregation.

"As I was invited to say a few words, I sincerely explained an education programme of the state government for the benefit of the people of Selangor.

"I regret that this matter has caused anxiety among Muslims and that the issue has been played up by certain quarters for political reasons," she said. Teo stressed that her visit to the surau was not politically motivated and she had no intention to cause the sanctity of mosques and surau to be questioned.

She welcomed the advice and suggestions from all quarters on the matter and vowed to exercise greater caution so as not to create discomfort and misunderstanding among Muslims in the future.

Teo's presence at the surau led the sultan to direct the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (MAIS) to take immediate action against the surau committee which, according to a report, has been suspended.

In SHAH ALAM, Selangor Umno Youth Saturday sent a memorandum to Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim on the matter.

Its information chief, Safarizul Mustafa, said what Teo did should not be taken lightly because it went against the sultan's stated desire to uphold the sanctity of mosques and surau.

"We take seriously the matter of non-Muslim politicians and other individuals giving speeches at mosques and surau in Selangor as it is tantamount to ignoring the sensitivities of Muslims and can undermine public order and security," he told reporters.

Safarizul said the memorandum, among other things, called on the Selangor government to expel Datuk Dr Hasan Mohamed Ali as the chairman of the State Islamic Affairs and Malay Customs Committee for having allegedly failed to advise a non-Muslim elected representative of the DAP accordingly.

It also called for the chairman and members of the surau committee and the imam who had invited Teo and allowed her to give a talk to be expelled immediately.

In YAN (Kedah), Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom today advised mosque and surau committees to refer to the respective state Islamic affairs councils on the matter of permitting non-Muslims into Muslim houses of worship.

He said every state had its guidelines in the matter and the mosque or surau committee or management should adhere to these regulations and not act arbitrarily.

Other houses of worship also had guidelines on allowing people of other religions into the premises, he told reporters after presenting tithes to poor people.

"We have no problem allowing people of other religions into mosques or surau. Some of our mosques allow non-Muslim tourists to enter their premises but have guidelines, such as women having to wear a headscarf and so on," he said.

In KEPALA BATAS, former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said all elected representatives should be more sensitive in matters concerning religion to avert tension among the races.

They should have an understanding of religious and racial harmony so as not to cause ill-feelings which could undermine it, Abdullah, who is the MP for Kepala Batas, told reporters after presenting Aidilfitri aid for the Pinang Tunggal state constituency.

In BESUT, the Religious Advisor to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Abdullah Md Zin, asked Muslim leaders in the opposition Pakatan Rakyat to advise their colleagues from the DAP to observe the rules on the use of Muslim houses of worship such as mosques and surau.

He said Islam required that women entering houses of worship should use a headscarf.

He also said that people of other religions should not enter the prayer area but could present donations or give speeches outside of it.

In IPOH, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said houses of worship should not be used to spread political influence in the personal or party interest.

He spoke to reporters after addressing a multi-religious prayer session attended by about 600 people of various religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism and Taoism, in conjunction with the 53rd anniversary of independence on Tuesday.

Read more: Serdang MP to apologise to Sultan over surau issue

No comments: