World

Preacher apologises for criticising sultan's decree

He was under fire for defending Muslim-only launderette that drew Johor Sultan's ire

PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian preacher has apologised after coming under fire over his remarks criticising a decree by the Johor Sultan last month that ordered a Muslim-only launderette in the state to stop its discriminatory business practice.

Preacher Zamihan Mat Zin, who is president of the non-governmental Malaysia Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah Organisation, issued the apology even as he denied criticising Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar over the decree, the New Straits Times reported yesterday.

Mr Zamihan made the remarks during a religious lecture in Shah Alam last Sunday.

A video uploaded on YouTube shows him speaking out against a sultan who had ordered a Muslim-only launderette in Muar, Johor, to stop the practice, saying it is wrong to do so.

His apology came after Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the ministry will be taking action against him.

Later, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said Mr Zamihan will be investigated under the Sedition Act, adding that a police report had been lodged.

In a statement, Mr Zamihan said he had never mentioned Sultan Ibrahim by name and hit out at the media reports of the incident, saying they were "clearly malicious and slanderous", the newspaper reported.

He said he respected Sultan Ibrahim, adding that it is "impossible for me to make statements that are belittling or insulting His Majesty".

"Nevertheless, I offer prayers and apologies to His Majesty," he added.

In the video, which went viral, Mr Zamihan also labels the Chinese as "unhygienic", The Star reported.

'PREJUDICE'

He said: "It is not that we want to prejudice them. But the elements of alcohol, dog, pork are all related to them. So, if they want to patronise a launderette, then patronise a normal launderette."

On Sept 27, Sultan Ibrahim ordered the launderette to stop its discriminatory practice or risk being shut down by him.

The owner apologised and took down the sign that limited its services to only Muslims.

Another launderette in Perlis serving only Muslims reopened its business to all customers after receiving a visit from the Perlis mufti and the state's crown prince.

 

Malaysia's royals on Tuesday referred to the incidents in a rare intervention on public affairs, saying they are concerned that the unity and harmony in Malaysia are being eroded as the nation faces an onslaught of racially controversial issues.

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Razali Ismail said the recent actions and statements portraying Islam as an intolerant and factious religion contradicted the aspirations of the Federal Constitution and the national principles.

"Suhakam calls on individuals and other interest groups to stop acting against the spirit of tolerance, which can result in confusion and disunity, and to seriously take heed of the Rulers' statement and injunction," he said.

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