KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — G25 expressed concern today that preacher Zamihan Mat Zin, a civil servant in charge of rehabilitating militant detainees, may influence terrorists to advocate for an Islamic state in Malaysia.
The group of retired senior civil servants also said Zamihan’s employment was disrespectful towards the Johor and Selangor Sultans, who had both criticised the Home Ministry officer over his remarks defending a Muslim-only laundromat in Johor.
“We hope that the Ministry is not employing Zamihan in the belief that it takes a thief to catch a thief,” G25 said in a statement.
“With his background, there is a risk that Zamihan may influence the detainees into the wrong path.
“Instead of rehabilitating them to understand the multicultural diversity of the country and the need for Malaysians to show tolerance for our differences, commitment to ‘Wasatiyyah’ (the middle path/ moderation), and to respect the Federal Constitution, the rule of law and the Rukun Negara, he may use religion to advocate for an Islamic state in Malaysia,” it added.
National newswire Bernama quoted Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying last Thursday that the government still required Zamihan’s expertise, claiming the preacher was successful in rehabilitating Islamic State (IS) detainees.
G25 said the continued employment of Zamihan contradicted the government’s claim that Malaysia was a model for moderation in Islam.
The pro-moderation group also pointed out that the 17-hour detention of US-based Turkish academic Mustafa Akyol by religious authorities over a forum gave the impression that Malaysia was an unsafe place for scholars to talk publicly about Islam.
“The employment of Zamihan by the Ministry of Home Affairs will further add to the fears about religious dictatorship in Malaysia,” said G25.