KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad will be overseeing the administration of mosques and religious bodies in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.
Khalid will focus on managing the administrative aspects of these entities and establish the new government’s policy on Islam while fellow minister in charge of Islamic affairs Mujahid Yusof Rawa to focus on formulating a more inclusive and progressive policy, news portal The Malaysian Insight reported today.
Khalid said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants to promote an approach to Islam in which Muslims respect and defend other faiths.
“The prime minister does not want the religious affairs minister to be involved in administrative matters.
“Instead, he wants the religious affairs minister to decide on the overall policy, philosophy and understanding of Islam for the country,” Khalid was quoted saying.
Mosques in the federal territories, the mufti’s office, the Zakat Department and Islamic Affairs Council were previously run by the Islamic Affairs Development Department (Jakim) under the purview of the Religious Affairs Ministry.
It was reported that the new Pakatan Harapan government’s policy on Islam will break away from the former Barisan Nasional administration’s hard-line approach, which was seen as insular and intolerant of other faiths.
“Muslims should not think that Islam is out there to destroy all other religions. (They need) to accept the fact that there will always be people of different beliefs,” he said.
The new structure will see the religious affairs minister overseeing national agencies, such as the Institute for Islamic Understanding, Islamic Missionaries Foundation (Yadim) and TV Al-Hijrah.
The Federal Territories Religious Department (Jawi), which is still under Jakim, is also being considered by the Cabinet to transfer it under Khalid’s ministry.
“I believe Jawi should be transferred to my ministry. We are still discussing it but I believe the issue will be resolved soon,” Khalid was quoted saying.