‘JAIS must be accountable'

08 Jan 2014 / 13:32 H.

    PETALING JAYA (Jan 7, 2014): The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) may be issued a new standard operating procedure (SOP) that will include mandatory approval from the state executive council prior to raids on premises.
    DAP's Klang MP Charles Santiago said the state government will propose the revision after JAIS hands over its report on last Thursday's raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) in Damansara Kim here where it seized 351 Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia and Iban on grounds that they contained the word "Allah".
    Santiago said he had met state executive councillor in charge of Islamic affairs Sallehen Mukhyi this morning together with the editor of Catholic weekly Herald, Father Lawrence Andrew and PKR's Seri Andalas assemblyman Dr Xavier Jayakumar.
    Sallehen later told reporters that the state government could not comment further on the BSM raid as the matter is under police investigation.
    "We leave it to the wisdom of JAIS and the police to resolve the case according to the law," Malaysiakini reported him as saying.
    JAIS had justified the raid by saying that it was to enforce the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 which bans non-Muslims from using the word "Allah".
    Santiago said JAIS must be accountable for its actions and justify raids on houses of worship.
    "They can't conduct raids on complaints alone; JAIS raided because they had received complaints, but what is the complaint? Nobody knows," he said.
    "The way JAIS conducted themselves is above and beyond the law, (it appears) they are not accountable to anyone."
    He said it was important that JAIS be answerable to the Selangor government and its Non-Islamic Affairs Committee.
    "They must make a case (after receiving complaints), justify a raid, and get permission from the Selangor government first," Santiago said.
    Jayakumar said one of the measures to be introduced will include JAIS having to prepare a report of complaints that they have received and to submit them to the state government.
    "There should be more consultation and the executive council should be informed; this is not the first time JAIS has conducted raids and its SOP has to be reviewed," he said.
    He said today's meeting also decided that Jais would to show what complaints they received, who made them and whether the complaints are true.
    "After submitting the report, the state government will decide whether a raid is necessary, and will inform the relevant parties if it is."
    Earlier, Sallehen said an inter-faith council would be formed to resolve religious problems in the state in the near future, and its views could be relayed to the palace from time to time.


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