MCA: Will JAIS raid Hindu and Buddhist temples in future too?

MCA: Will JAIS raid Hindu and Buddhist temples in future too?
KUALA LUMPUR: MCA has sounded the alarm over fears that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) is being given too much power and that this free reign may lead to the continued ‘harassment’ of non-Muslims.

Pinning the blame on the Pakatan Rakyat state government, MCA Religious Harmony Bureau Deputy Chairman Ng Chok Sin said that the Selangor state administrators have failed to take responsibility over the recent JAIS raid on Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) and the confiscation of Malay and Iban bibles.
“By defending JAIS, it appears that Pakatan is giving them a free hand to continue harassing BSM. Thus, we are afraid that this will set a precedent for JAIS to also raid and search other places of worship, such as Hindu and Buddhist temples, using the excuse that it is part of their SOP (Standard Operating Procedure),” said Ng in a statement, Wednesday.

Ng was referring to the statement by Sallehin Mukhyi, the Selangor exco for Islamic affairs, who had said that last week’s raid at the BSM Petaling Jaya premises had been above board as Jais’ present SOP do not require it to notify the state government first.
Ng said that Sallehin’s statement was “unacceptable” and it “merely fuels the fact that the Pakatan Selangor government is inefficient in maintaining religious harmony.”

Calling for an apology, Ng said that since JAIS falls directly under the purview of Sallehim, the latter must be made fully responsible for the raid on BSM, even if he claimed he was not informed about it.

At the same time, he applauded the step taken by the daughter of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, by appearing at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Klang to show solidarity with Christians over the recent issue.

“Marina has shown herself to be progressive and moderate in principle and more people should emulate her as such values are important for us to achieve racial and religious harmony,” said Ng.

Besides from the confiscation of the bibles, Ng said that MCA was also upset at the way the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) decided to conduct an inspection at the BSM premise without any prior notice.

He said it was not the first time Pakatan Selangor has failed to protect the rights of non-Muslims, citing the raid conducted by JAIS at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) on Aug 3, 2011.

“In that incident, the raid was also conducted without a warrant and at a Christian dinner activity. Thus if no severe action is taken for this recent raid on BSM, it can be presumed that JAIS will continue raid on other religious places or activities which will undoubtedly create inter-racial tension and religious misunderstanding.”

Ng noted with regret that in the 2011 raid on DUMC, the then exco for Islamic Affairs Datuk Hasan Ali also defended JAIS.

“Thus, the current Islamic Affairs exco’s use of SOP as an excuse to free JAIS from any responsibility will pave the way for them to continue harassing more places of worship in the future,” he concluded.

Ng stressed that strict action must be taken against JAIS as the body has no right to raid and search the places of worship of other religions or to take action against non-Muslims.

Asked about his bureau’s next course of action, Ng said that MCA will continue to act as a watchdog to every political party on religious issues.