Putrajaya denies order to lower azan volume

By Syed Mu’az Syed Putra, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — The federal government confirmed today that it did not issue any orders to stop loudspeakers from being used in a city mosque during the call for azan, after an “MCA youth member” had apparently “demanded” that the mosque lower the azan volume. 

Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s department in charge of religious affairs, admitted today that the ministry had received a complaint letter from the “MCA man”, who is a lawyer. 

The ministry, he said, had sent officials to the mosque to investigate but found that the individual’s complaint was a “non-issue.” 

“There have been no written instructions, it’s just that we received a complaint letter from the complainant. Upon receiving the letter, we went to the mosque to have a look for ourselves. 

“Actually, there is no issue here…no orders have been issued. The mosque committee did not do anything, and that’s the reality of the situation,” Jamil told The Malaysian Insider. 

He also dismissed online reports of the “MCA” lawyer’s complaint as “political tactic”. 

“This is a political game which is being spun by some people who want to create tension between Muslims and non-Muslims. This is political, we have not issued any orders on this,” Jamil told The Malaysian Insider. 

According to the minister, only the Federal Territory Islamic Department (Jawi) has the power to issue such an order. 

“Even Jawi has not issued anything on the matter,” added Jamil. 

Jawi director Datuk Che Mat Che Ali said recently that no directive was issued to the mosque here to lower the volume of its loudspeakers. 

The Malaysian Insider understands that the “MCA member” has now “moved away” from his own home in Pantai Hill Park, which is approximately one kilometre from the mosque. 

The “MCA member” has been accused of penning a letter to the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) on December 20 last year, complaining about the volume of the Muslim’s “azan” or the call to prayer blared every morning over the loudspeakers at a mosque near his residence. 

His letter had sparked an outrage among the Muslim community, leading to a protest by members of welfare group Pekida and Malay rights group Perkasa outside Masjid al-Ikhlasiah in Kampung Kerinchi yesterday afternoon. The group also called for the MCA man to be arrested under the ISA for threatening national harmony and demanded that he issued an open apology to the Muslim community. 

They distributed the fax purportedly sent by the MCA member to PMO where he revealed that he has been a party member since 1998. 

He also said that he has been living in Pantai Hill Park for five years and was roused in the mornings by the mosque’s call for prayers. 

“Several months ago, I hear the sound from the mosque to be very loud until that it woke me every morning at 5.45am,” the letter read. 

“I respect the position of Islam as the country’s official religion under the Federal Constitution but my right to sleep, rest and pray in peace should also be respected. 

“I am of the view that loudspeakers in any house of worship of any religion should be controlled by the authorities through clear and scientific rules like the calculation of decibels, and should not flout the law.