ISKANDAR PUTERI, June 20 — A total of RM28 million has been allocated for the payment of a monthly allowance for imam, muezzins and noja (mosque assistants) in Johor this year.

State Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid said of the total, RM12.6 million was channelled by the state government and the Johor Islamic Religious Council.

The balance was provided by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) to pay the allowance of mosque officials, namely imam 1 and imam 2, he added.

Mohd Fared also said that the Johor Islamic Religious Department (JAINJ) had submitted a proposal to review the allowance rate last year and the state government did intend to increase the rate as soon as the economic situation permits.

“Even though we were not able to increase the allowance rate for mosque and surau officials this time, they have received one-off assistance of RM500 each from Jakim, involving an allocation of RM1.3 million.

“They have also received RM500 from the state government under the Bantuan Kasih Bangsa Johor initiative this year with an allocation totalling RM2.295 million,” he said at the Second Meeting of the First Session of the 15th Johor State Assembly, at the Sultan Ismail Building here today.

He was responding to a question from Senator Datuk Jefridin Atan (BN-Kukup) on the rate of allowance paid by the state government to imam, muezzins and noja and the last time the rate was reviewed and increased.

Mohd Fared (BN-Semerah) said the state government was committed to promoting Islamic teachings in Johor by enlivening mosques and surau throughout the state.

In this regard, he said the state government has appointed 5,710 officials to hold the posts of imam, muezzins and noja in 838 mosques and 1,961 surau.

“Johor is the single state in Malaysia that provides a monthly allowance to imam and muezzins in surau, whereas other states only provide allowance to mosque officials.

“Although the amount is small, at least we did something to protect their welfare,” he said. — Bernama