Jakim unconstitutional, Putrajaya has no say over Islam, says Umno man


(TMI) – The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) is unconstitutional and Putrajaya has no authority over Islamic affairs, an Umno grassroots leader has said, weighing in on the ongoing debate over the religious body’s relevance.

Former Bandar Tun Razak Barisan Nasional (BN) division secretary Zaharin Mohd Yasin said he supported Tawfik Ismail’s calls for Jakim to be abolished, on this basis.

He added that the position of “minister in charge of religious affairs”, which is currently held by Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, should also be scrapped.

“I agree that Jakim should be abolished. It goes against the Constitution, which states that religion should be under the sole purview of each state ruler.

“The federal government should not be involved in Islam or its management at all. It’s unconstitutional and they will just end up politicising religion. It should be under the Conference of Rulers alone.

“Even if DAP were to rule Malaysia one day and it dissolves Jakim, that’s fine – the party would be acting in accordance with the Constitution,” Zaharin, popularly known by his pen name Sang Kelembai, told The Malaysian Insider.

He said the authorities were wrong to cite Article 3(1) of Article 11(3) of the Federal Constitution as proof that Jakim’s existence was in accordance with the law.

He said Article 3(1), which states that Islam is the religion of the federation, merely meant that Islam must be prioritised (didahulukan) over other religions in Malaysia.

It did not mean that the federal government had any authority over Islam, said Zaharin, who describes himself as a pro-BN political analyst.

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