Loudspeaker ban on Penang mosques not state decision, exco says

Abdul Malik said the leaked meeting minutes on the proposed ban is viewed as a serious matter, claiming news of the purported edict was intentionally spread online to create dissent. — Picture by KE Ooi
Abdul Malik said the leaked meeting minutes on the proposed ban is viewed as a serious matter, claiming news of the purported edict was intentionally spread online to create dissent. — Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 1 — The Penang government said today that it never issued any instruction to the state mufti office or the fatwa committee to ban all mosques in the state from using loudspeakers.

Penang religious affairs committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim said since 2008, the state government has never interfered in such matters and does not intend to start.

"We must understand that no one from the state, me and the chief minister included, gave mufti or the fatwa committee instructions," he told a press conference called to address the issue, which has triggered an uproar here after some parties misinterpreted the proposed edict as a blanket ban on all events, including the azan.

Penang Mufti Datuk Dr Wan Salim Mohd Noor has since clarified that the ban does not apply to the azan (Muslim call to prayer).

The religious cleric also said it was a decision made by the fatwa committee that the matter was merely a proposal at this stage as it has yet to be gazetted and implemented.

Abdul Malik also pointed out today that the mufti is appointed by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong. The fatwa committee similarly has the ruler’s endorsement, he added.

"The Penang Fatwa Committee, chaired by the Penang mufti, is made up of 12 people from various fields that include lecturers and those from the Penang Islamic Religious Council," he said.

Abdul Malik said the leaked meeting minutes on the proposed ban is viewed as a serious matter, claiming news of the purported edict was intentionally spread online to create dissent.

"This is why we are angry, this was leaked with bad intention, to create an issue out of it," he said.

He said the state secretary is now investigating the leak and that stern action will be taken against those responsible.

The leaked meeting minutes was shared on social media and was reported by Bernama yesterday.

News of the proposed ban to an uproar here among several Malay groups like the Persatuan Mukabuku Pulau Pinang and Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) Pulau Pinang.