Selangor govt suspends controversial guidelines on new non-Muslim places of worship

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor government has suspended controversial guidelines to building new non-Muslim houses of worship pending review.

Senior state executive councillor Datuk Teng Chang Khim (pix) said this was decided during the state executive council meeting today.

"The exco meeting has decided to suspend the controversial provisions in the third edition and directed a review on the controversial provisions," said Teng, who is Selangor non-Islamic Affairs Committee co-chairman.

Asked how did the provisions end up in the Selangor Manual Guideline and Selangor State Planning Standard third edition when its second edition did not include them, he said it is possible that it was inserted after referring to other states' guidelines.

Teng explained that the officer responsible may have cross-referred it with guidelines from other states such as Johor, Negri Sembilan, and Malacca, which have similar provisions, and thought it normal.

"In this case there's a possibility that they referred to other states and see that such provisions exist, then they just copied it. So there is no ill intentions here," he said.

Teng also said there is no need to name the officer responsible as he had already accepted responsibility blame over the issue.

He said any action against the officer, if any, will be carried out internally.

The Sungai Pinang assemblyman reiterated that it was he who had ordered a review but did not look through the final draft, letting the controversial provisions slip through.

Controversy erupted when it was revealed that the provisions outlined extremely prohibitive conditions for the building of new non-Islamic houses of worship.

These included that such places must be at least 50m away from the nearest Muslim-owned homes and the need to obtain permission of residents within a 200m radius.

Non-Islamic houses of worship also cannot be constructed in commercial areas and must not be taller than nearby mosques.