Johor Sultan Cuts Ties With Jakim After Chiding It For Hiring A 'Brainless' Preacher

"I am directing JAIJ to stop wasting its time dealing with Jakim."

Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has issued a decree forbidding the Johor Islamic Religious Department (JAIJ) from having any dealings with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim)

The decree was issued after a religious speaker of Jakim criticised the Johor Sultan for barring a Muslim-only launderette in the state

The religious preacher, Zamihan Mat Zin, had defied the Johor Sultan's decree against a Muslim-only launderette in Muar, making an allegedly disparaging speech against the Sultan and Islamic scholars in a video recording uploaded on YouTube on 9 October.

"There was a sultan who had said Muslim-friendly launderettes are not allowed in his state. It is not right for the sultan to say such things," Zamihan had said in the YouTube video, adding that Chinese people were unhygienic and should patronise "normal" launderettes, according to a report in The Straits Times.

Following which, a Sedition probe was initiated against Zamihan and he was arrested on Wednesday, 12 October. The religious preacher was released on Saturday after a magistrate did not approve the police application for an extension of his remand.

The religious preacher Zamihan Mat Zin.

Image via Malaysiakini

The Johor Sultan, who described Zamihan as an empty vessel and brainless, decreed that Jakim was no longer welcome to advise the state on Islamic affairs as religion fell under state jurisdiction

"Several muftis and Islamic scholars have given their views on the issue of the launderette in Muar. Unfortunately, Zamihan has criticised me and undermined the views of the mufti and scholars," the Sultan said in his speech at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia’s 17th convocation ceremony, yesterday, 14 October.

"The way he said it was arrogant of him as if he is the only person who is right. He mocked other races and after being lambasted by the public, he denied his actions.

"It seems that this ustaz is good at lying. So, how are we supposed to learn anything from him?" the Sultan said, adding that while he is willing to listen to other people’s views on religious matters of the state, he cannot listen to those who are rude.

"If it is true that he is a Jakim officer, then I don't know where the department found him because, for me, he is like an empty can and brainless.

"After this, I have directed JAIJ not to waste time dealing with Jakim, and Jakim, in turn, does not need to give any views to Johor," the Sultan added.

Sultan Ibrahim also said that if the people followed the preacher's mentality it would only result in negative environment, wrongly portraying Muslim life as "extreme, intolerant and unjust"

To make his point against the practices of having "Muslim-only" things, the ruler cited currency notes as an example, saying money was handled by everyone, including those who would be considered ritually unclean in Islam.

"The same money may have been touched by pork butchers, bartenders and may even have come into contact with heavy filth. Must the government then come up with "Muslim-friendly" notes? Think, ladies and gentlemen," the ruler said.

Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar delivering his speech at the opening of the Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia's convocation ceremony.

Image via ADI SAFRI/NST

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