The Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim should give his personal attention to ensure that the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais), which disrupted the Hindu wedding ceremony of factory worker Zarinah Abdul Majid, 32, at a Shah Alam temple on Sunday, make recompense by assisting Zarinah to change her religious status in her identity card as she had been a practising Hindu all her life.
Khalid should ask Jais to give him a weekly report until Zarinah’s problem had been resolved and succeeded in changing to her true religious status.
Jais’ high-handed, arrogant and insensitive action on Sunday in disrupting Zarinah’s wedding ceremony at the Hindu temple in Shah Alam is a “no-no” which shows no respect for other religions in the country and bring disrepute to Malaysia internationally and must never be repeated.
Jais can investigate into complaints but it must never be done in a manner which violates or trespasses the sanctity of other religions and brings ill-repute to Malaysia’s international reputation.
Moderate and right-thinking Malaysians, both Muslims and non-Muslims, are outraged by the high-handed action by Jais, with the Selangor Mentri Besar describing it as an “embarrassment” while the former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr. Mohd Asri Zainual Abidin has likened it as akin to “Talibanisation”.
The most recent Jais action is undoubtedly a most negative and destructive development which not only undermines inter-religious harmony and relations in plural Malaysia but stains the country’s international reputation as a model multi-religious nation.
Arising from the high-handed Jais action, I want to make two proposals:
Firstly, the Selangor Executive Council should set up a special committee involving Jais to help resolve all Zarinah-like cases in the state to end the hardships and sufferings caused by bureaucratic obstacles to resolving problems caused by wrong and mistaken registration of a person as a Muslim in birth certificates or identity cards when the person involved had never been a Muslim;
Secondly, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should set up a Cabinet committee comprising Home Ministry, NRD and the various state Islamic authorities to provide speedy resolution and rescue from limbo the few hundred cases of mistakenly registration of the persons concerned as Muslims in birth certificates or identity cards.
A recent case highlighted by Astro Awani concerns an error which occurred nineteen years ago on the identity card of Johann Lim Nordin which has caused a lot of inconvenience and heartache for him.
On his official identity card, his full name is stated as Johann Lim Noordin bin Billy Noordin while his birth certificate states his name as Johann Lim Noordin .
By religion, Johann is a Buddhist and has never been a Muslim.
Pronounced as Yo-han, this 32-year old Chindian from Penang has been unable to get this error resolved with the National Registration Department (NRD) since he was 13-years-old.
In the last communication from the NRD last month, the department suggested for Johan to obtain an official letter from the Syariah Court stating that he is not a Muslim!
It does not speak well for Najib’s Government Transformation Programme when such mistakes of wrong and mistaken entries whether in birth certificates or identity cards about the religious status of a person seems impossible of rectification, causing untold hardships, inconvenience and even sufferings to the victims concerned.
Islam is not under attack even with the rectification of the hundreds of cases of wrong and mistaken registration in birth certificates or identity cards of holders as Muslims when they are not.
Can Najib explain why it is so impossible under his administration to resolve these few hundred cases causing so much hardships, inconvenience and even sufferings especially as he preaches the concept of wasatiyah to reflect his commitment to uphold justice and harmony in Malaysia?