KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday (Mar 7) said that the ban on politicians from giving talks and lectures in mosques and surau (small prayer halls) must be respected by all parties.
This comes after Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang over the weekend said that he will continue giving sermons in the East Coast state of Terengganu despite an edict from state ruler Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin banning politicians from delivering religious talks in mosques and prayer halls there.
“The question of permission in mosques, that applies to everyone including the Prime Minister. The rulers of the states have the authority when it comes to religion. This must be understood,” Mr Anwar told reporters after an event at the Ministry of Finance.
“In respecting the order (by religious authorities), I avoid giving talks when I stop at a mosque for Friday prayers.”
Mr Anwar added that the rationale for the ruling was because there have been too many instances where discourse about religion contained many elements of hardline political rhetoric.
On Mar 2, Terengganu’s Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIDAM) announced Sultan Mizan’s orders, saying that the state ruler was upset that there were some politicians who had given religious lectures and classes without the council’s approval.
Some had also led Friday prayers without its prior approval, MAIDAM said, without naming who the politicians are or which parties they belong to.
Terengganu is currently ruled by the Islamist party PAS.
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