Asri: Selangor Is Wrong To Put JAIS Under MAIS

The failure of the Selangor government to resolve religious disputes stem from its own action to place the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) under the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS).

Former Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said this situation led to the state government being unable to translate its policies because the religious enforcement agencies were outside the jurisdiction of Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

Upon taking over the state in 2008, Asri claimed that Pakatan Rakyat made a mistake by putting JAIS under MAIS. “Previously, when (former Selangor religious exco) Datuk Hassan Ali presented this issue, why didn’t the state government object to it?” Hence, he suggested that the state government must reconsider its jurisdiction over JAIS.

“I refuse to comment on the Bibles (that were seized) because in general, Islam does not disturb books of other religions.

"There are complexities about who JAIS is accountable to, and to what extent is the jurisdiction of state government. Now, it is as though the Menteri Besar cannot do anything about it.

"JAIS has failed to mirror the state government’s policy because it is not accountable to the state government,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here.

According to Asri, religious conflicts in Selangor will continue as long as the state government does not improve its policies.

“Conflict of power will frequently occur between JAIS and MAIS within the state government.

“The Selangor government should correct its jurisdiction of power over them,” he said.

On Thursday, Abdul Khalid had ordered JAIS to return all confiscated bibles to the Bible Society of Malaysia. The order was made following Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail saying that no prosecution will be made in connection with the Bible seizures and the case was closed. MAIS, however, refused to return the Malay version of the Bibles that they confiscated early last January because they were convinced that there is a clause in the Non-Islamic Religions Enactment 1988, which allows the case to be taken to court.

MAIS wants the court to determine whether the 300 Bibles should be returned or disposed of.

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