PM: New committee to review Jakim’s role

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the new committee will include religious scholars and non-religious experts to discuss the department’s position. — Picture by Abdul Razak Ghazali
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the new committee will include religious scholars and non-religious experts to discuss the department’s position. — Picture by Abdul Razak Ghazali

PUTRAJAYA, May 30 — A new committee will be formed to evaluate the role of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The prime minister said the group will include religious scholars and non-religious experts who will discuss the department’s position.

“We will see whether it will remain as how it is now, or revert to its original purpose.

“We will ensure that it would not portray Islam as a cruel and inconsiderate religion. That is not what Islam is,” said Dr Mahathir at a press conference after chairing the Cabinet meeting here.

Dr Mahathir said Muslims here have a tendency to impose certain rulings that are not in Islamic teachings, rather than rulings that are already mandated.

“We like to impose religion, when the Quran has said, ‘There is no compulsion in Islam’,” he said.

Earlier this year, Dr Mahathir had defended Jakim’s establishment during his previous administration, saying its aim was to bring the government in line with Islamic teachings and that it was not a means for Umno to neutralise PAS’ influence among Malay Muslims.

Jakim was formally established as part of the Prime Minister’s Department in 1997, with a massive annual budget of close to RM1 billion.

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