Zamihan Mat Zin, a controversial Islamic preacher whose claim to fame is being barred from lecturing in Johor and Selangor for his "extremist" Islamic viewpoints, is reportedly an "asset" for Putrajaya
Yes, the same preacher whose xenophobia and intolerance saw him being publicly denounced by not one, but two heads of religion, declaring that he is not welcome in their states, has the protection of the Federal Government.
Why? Apparently, for his alleged prowess to "rehabilitate" imprisoned terrorists.
The preacher is still working for the Islamic Development Department (Jakim), ostensibly to rehabilitate imprisoned terrorists
The Islamic Development Department (Jakim) officer, who is secondment to the Prisons Department to help reform jailed terrorists, has been praised as an expert in rehabilitating those who had been radicalised by IS or would-be terrorists by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. He called him "an asset".
Zahid defended Zamihan saying that while he has been barred from giving religious talks in Selangor and Johor, his expertise in rehabilitating terrorists is of value.
"He is an asset when it comes to rehabilitating the faith of those who have gone astray," Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, was quoted as saying by FMT.
Putrajaya's decision to allow Zamihan to continue carrying out de-radicalisation programmes despite his extremist views, which saw him being investigated under the Sedition Act, has been questioned
PKR Supreme Council member Latheefa Koya, who is also a lawyer, asked, "How does a preacher who is banned from speaking in Selangor and Johor, and caused so much controversy is still being given access to IS detainees?"
She has urged DPM Zahid to re-evaluate Zamihan's role.
On the other hand, International Islamic University of Malaysia lecturer Maszlee Malik said Malaysians should feel worried and insist on that the Home Ministry must present a transparent report on the rehabilitation programme because Zamihan's thoughts were seen to be at risk of affecting racial harmony in Malaysia.
Additionally, the mufti of northern Perlis state, Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, has questioned Putrajaya's wisdom in allowing Zamihan to continue working, saying the preacher has, again and again, expressed his extremist thinking.
However, DPM Zahid continues to defend Zamihan
"From records I obtained, his success rate in restoring their (the detained militants') faith has been quite high. He is an asset, not only in faith restoration but also in bringing these groups of people back on the right track.
"I don't think he should be penalised with (the removal of) his position in the Prisons Department," Zahid was quoted as saying on Thursday by theSundaily.
Earlier this week, Zamihan had also criticised a mosque official in Penang for letting non-Muslims take shelter in a small neighbourhood mosque during heavy flooding in the area: