KUALA LUMPUR – May 16, 2017: Penang Umno wants the DAP-led state government to clarify what it alleges to be a contentious situation regarding the issuance of fatwa (Islamic decree).
In this regards, the state’s Umno secretary Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir claims that a similar situation never arose when the Barisan Nasional ruled the state under Gerakan’s Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon for four terms from 1990 to 2008.
“The former chief minister never meddled in religious affairs. He let the mufti council decide on fatwa. It’s baffling to hear that interference is happening in Penang now. If this is true, the religious affairs exco (Datuk Abdul Malik Kassim) should be held responsible and step down from his position,” said Musa today.
Musa was responding to claims by Penang PAS that the Penang government had been involved in unwarranted political interference in the issuance of fatwa.
Penang PAS yesterday asked the state government to retract its circular, which requires all fatwa to be first vetted by the state executive council headed by the chief minister.
The matter first surfaced when mentioned by Penang PAS chief Muhammad Fauzi Yusoff in January. Fauzi argued that for Penang fatwas only require the assent of the Yang diPertuan Agong, meaning that the state has no business vetting them.
A sitting state fatwa committee member and several PAS leaders support Fauzi’s argument.
The controversy also caused a protest by PAS members in March.
However the state executive council and mufti council have repeatedly denied the allegation, adding that fatwas only pass through the state government for notification before being sent to the state legal adviser’s office.
Malik insists that the state government has never interfered in the matter.
“I do not want to add anymore to this despite the issue being politicised by Penang PAS and several others,” he remarked.