JAKIM costs the country more than RM1.5 billion

The prime minister says the Islamic body previously had little to do with development plans, the budget or government reforms.

(FMT) – Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has told Jakim, the Islamic development department, to provide greater input into government policymaking.

He said he had met Jakim leaders recently and urged them to help draft a national development policy framework based on the Malaysia Madani concept, Bernama reported.

Anwar said that Jakim’s functions prior to the formation of the unity government were limited to preaching, conducting training and jointly organising Quran recital competitions with the state governments.

“But it had little role when drafting the 12th Malaysia Plan, the national budget, and reforming national and governmental institutions,” said Anwar at the national Quran recital competition here today.

“What I did was instruct the ulamas, muftis and the figures in Jakim to be in line with ‘current developments’ so that their input can be used to benefit (the country) and uplift the dignity of our government,” Anwar said.

He said claims that his government had abandoned Islam were nothing but “malicious slander”.

Jakim had received higher allocations under his government and was given a much bigger role, that it has never had before, in assisting the government’s policymaking processes based on the “Malaysia Madani” concept.

The Islamic development department has in the past come under criticism for the size of its enormous annual budget allocations, which has reached more than RM1.5 billion.

Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar is among those who had raised questions about the department’s budget.

Jakim has also figured in controversy over its handling of matters involving non-Muslim religions and practices.