(Bernama) - The Penang government will not budge from its decision to carry out the election of mosque officials as it is accordance with the laws, said its Religious Affairs, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Abdul Malik Abul Kassim.
He said the proposed election adhered to Section 104(a)(b) of the State of Penang Enactment 2004 and 4(1) Congregation Committee and Mosque Officials Requirements (Penang).
"The new procedure introduced by the Penang Islamic Religious Council is an improvement of existing regulatory procedures adopted by the previous state government," he told reporters Monday.
Commenting on calls for the state government to get the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong before holding the mosque polls, Abdul Malik, said the new procedure accorded congregators the right to nominate candidates through mosque committees to the council before getting the consent of the king.
Abdul Malik said the mosque congregation committees would decide whether the congregators were eligible to vote and the state government would set up the congregators' database after the election.
After nomination was closed last Tuesday, 193 out of 200 mosques had sent the nomination lists, he said, adding that this showed the proposed election had received an overwhelming response from congregators.
Meanwhile, Penang Umno Liaison Committee chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman said the state Umno had sent an appeal letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong through Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, to oppose the move.
"I hope the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the head of Islam will prevent the mosque polls from taking place as it could divide the Muslims," said Zainal.