KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said today he is saddened with the Malaysian Islamic Department’s (Jakim) hardline approach towards religion by not encouraging discussions about the religion.
The Umno lawmaker also said that Jakim’s close-minded approach and intrusion into the lives of Muslims are a cause for concern.
“The practice of the time-honoured, academic discourses where discussions are held disinterestedly do not seem to be the department’s cup of tea.
“This is sad, tragic even, as an exercise of this nature will create much interest, especially among the younger set such as the Gen Y, in their getting beyond the superficial to know Islam more deeply,” he said during his speech at the G25 forum on ‘Islam in a constitutional democracy’.
Tengku Razaleigh, better known as Ku Li added he was also disheartened by the presence of “moral police” who seem to be intruding into the lives of many Muslims here.
“Sadder still is the ostensibly perceived notion where people feel and say that there seems to be a self-appointed moral police of sorts marauding around and interfering into the private lives of the people,” he expressed.
“In trying to establish an efficient and professional administration to manage the affairs of Islam, we must not fall into the trap of creating a religious bureaucracy which is what another faith of the Book has got itself into.
“Such a development would be against the teachings of Islam. In any event, a religious bureaucracy would be no more than the mere appropriation of power by vested interests through the applications Islamic laws,” he explained.
Religious authorities have been criticised by various parties including civil society groups for their high-handed approach over issues.
They also have the tendency of releasing ‘fatwas’ on various issues which have caused unhappiness among many.