SEPANG, Dec 24 — Following a slew of reports of alleged sexual crimes and scandals involving Muslims celebrity preachers, minister Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad has expressed his hope today that no such scandals will occur again in the coming year.
Speaking in a gathering with some 50 celebrity preachers at the Movenpick Hotel here, the former federal territories mufti had urged those present, including himself, to be mindful of their moral standing.
“I want to say to everyone even though I am a minister but I am a minister who supports you all, may you be given strength and wealth.
“Please be mindful, including myself. I do not want to hear of any molestation cases,’’ said Zulkifli.
In his speech, he also joked that in comparison to such sexual crimes, he is not too concerned about such preachers being involved in polygamy.
“If it is an issue of being engaged to one or two or three or four [women], that is still okay,’’ he said, referring to polygamy in Islam, where a man is allowed to marry up to four women if they fulfil certain criteria.
“But when it comes to sexual assault, dear God, even repeating the word does not sound good.”
Zulkifli’s remark comes after the case of Da’i Syed, whose full name is Syed Shah Iqmal Syed Mohammad Shaiful, who catapulted to fame as a preacher on a reality television programme and was charged with rape and unnatural sex earlier this month.
In a brief press conference after his speech, Zulkifli again expressed that he does not wish to hear of such scandals in the coming year, and urged the community to remind each other on this matter.
He also explained his jest about polygamy, adding again jokingly: “I hope no such cases will recur. If you think it is needed, get married to two women, or three, for example.”
In Zulkifli’s talking points, he also stated the need for a more stringent pre-requisite for contestants to enter religious reality shows, including having a proper Islamic education as well as credentials conferred from a local authority.
Yesterday, Zulkifli agreed to the suggestions by Majlis Dakwah Negara chairman Datuk Mahmood Zuhdi Abd Majid to review reality TV programmes featuring Islamic preachers.
Mahmood had also recommended celebrity Islamic preachers undergo further training and guidance once their programmes have concluded, instead of being allowed to preach as they please.
Da’i Syed, 25, was charged with raping a woman at the Sessions Court in Shah Alam, Selangor on December 10 and faces up to 20 years in prison and whipping if found guilty.
He also faces two separate charges of committing unnatural sex and molestation at the Magistrates Court and Sessions Court in Petaling Jaya.
The celebrity preacher has claimed trial to all three counts. Da’i Syed was subsequently released from a temporary detention centre in Beranang, Selangor on December 15, after posting bail amounting to RM35,000.
Prior to Da’i Syed, there had been several other recent sexual scandals involving celebrity preachers, including extra-marital affairs, eloping, abandoning their wives for others, sexting, and indecent exposure.
Earlier this week, popular preacher Syamsul Zaman Sukri, also known as “Ustaz Budak”, was charged in the Magistrate’s Court in Kota Baru with committing gross indecency with a man at a hotel here.