PAS, Umno tussle over Selangor mosques

By Adib Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — A battle for control of Selangor mosques between PAS and Umno is shaping up with the Islamist party trying to stop the state opposition from hosting a “buka puasa” today with the prime minister.

The function with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also the Selangor Umno liaison committee chairman, was originally planned to be held at Masjid Nurul Ehsan in Kampung Medan, but was moved to the nearby Masjid As-Salam.

Both the mosques are located in a Malay-majority area of Petaling Jaya and have become centres for community activities.

It is understood that Masjid Nurul Ehsan supervisor Ghazali Shaari did not respond to the request made by Selangor Umno to use the mosque for the event.

Selangor Umno will now hold the event outside Masjid As-Salam, but party leaders will be at the mosque to perform their prayers.

“I have told the mosque supervisor to make sure that only the prime minister is allowed to give a speech and there are other conditions,” said Ghazali, who is also Petaling Jaya Selatan PAS chief.

PAS is ruling Selangor together with the DAP and PKR. State PAS chief Datuk Hasan Ali is the Selangor executive councillor in charge of Islamic affairs.

“Local community leaders, the MP and state assemblymen must be invited. Nobody can give political speeches, no flags of political parties or party symbols,” Ghazali told The Malaysian Insider.

Ghazali claimed the move to impose restrictions was not politically motivated, saying that he was merely enforcing the orders made by the Sultan of Selangor for mosques not to be used by political parties. 

“When they wrote to me earlier to hold the event at Masjid Nurul Ehsan, similar conditions were imposed,” said Ghazali. 

“These conditions are not new. Remember when Tok Guru wanted to deliver a Friday sermon, he was stopped,” he added, referring to the Sultan’s order in 2009 prohibiting PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat from delivering the Friday sermon at the state mosque in Shah Alam.

Ghazali said it was unusual for any political party to use mosques for political activities.