15 January 2011
Putrajaya denies order to lower azan volume
Jamil has dismissed online reports of the purported complaint by the 'MCA' lawyer as a political ploy
The federal government confirmed today that it did not issue any orders to stop loudspeakers from being used in a city mosque during the call for azan, after an “MCA youth member” had apparently “demanded” that the mosque lower the azan volume.
Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s department in charge of religious affairs, admitted today that the ministry had received a complaint letter from the “MCA man”, who is a lawyer.
The ministry, he said, had sent officials to the mosque to investigate but found that the individual’s complaint was a “non-issue.”
“There have been no written instructions, it’s just that we received a complaint letter from the complainant. Upon receiving the letter, we went to the mosque to have a look for ourselves.
“Actually, there is no issue here...no orders have been issued. The mosque committee did not do anything, and that’s the reality of the situation,” Jamil told The Malaysian Insider.
He also dismissed online reports of the “MCA” lawyer’s complaint as “political tactic”.
“This is a political game which is being spun by some people who want to create tension between Muslims and non-Muslims. This is political, we have not issued any orders on this,” Jamil told The Malaysian Insider.
According to the minister, only the Federal Territory Islamic Department (Jawi) has the power to issue such an order.
“Even Jawi has not issued anything on the matter,” added Jamil.
Jawi director Datuk Che Mat Che Ali said recently that no directive was issued to the mosque here to lower the volume of its loudspeakers.
The Malaysian Insider understands that the “MCA member” has now “moved away” from his own home in Pantai Hill Park, which is approximately one kilometre from the mosque.
The “MCA member” has been accused of penning a letter to the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) on December 20 last year, complaining about the volume of the Muslim’s “azan” or the call to prayer blared every morning over the loudspeakers at a mosque near his residence.
His letter had sparked an outrage among the Muslim community, leading to a protest by members of welfare group Pekida and Malay rights group Perkasa outside Masjid al-Ikhlasiah in Kampung Kerinchi yesterday afternoon. The group also called for the MCA man to be arrested under the ISA for threatening national harmony and demanded that he issued an open apology to the Muslim community.
They distributed the fax purportedly sent by the MCA member to PMO where he revealed that he has been a party member since 1998.
He also said that he has been living in Pantai Hill Park for five years and was roused in the mornings by the mosque’s call for prayers.
“Several months ago, I hear the sound from the mosque to be very loud until that it woke me every morning at 5.45am,” the letter read.
“I respect the position of Islam as the country’s official religion under the Federal Constitution but my right to sleep, rest and pray in peace should also be respected.
“I am of the view that loudspeakers in any house of worship of any religion should be controlled by the authorities through clear and scientific rules like the calculation of decibels, and should not flout the law.
“Like in my hometown of Seremban, the sounds from the mosque are softer and more controlled,” he continued.
It is understood that the man identified had once worked for a former MCA president who was also a Cabinet member.
The man could not be contacted for confirmation that he had written the letter, which was carbon copied to several ministers in PMO.
The mosque concerned is situated near a new commercial development area called Bangsar South, and was first opened 30 years ago, while the lawyer only moved to the Malay-majority neighbourhood about five years ago. Pantai Dalam used to be dominated by squatters and low-cost flats but has seen the development of luxury apartments and commercial property in recent years.
The Muslim call for prayer first became a political issue in 2008 when Selangor executive councillor Teresa Kok was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for allegedly asking a Puchong mosque to stop playing the azan over its loudspeaker.
Kok, who was released a week after her arrest, denied the allegation while the mosque’ committee members also came forward to defend the Selangor DAP chairman.
Looks like Pekida and Perkasa trying to stir up the issue.
Since it is non issue, it should be left as that. If people like Perkasa is trying to politicise the issues, they should be arrested for assembling without valid permit.
I like what the Pantai Dalam MP has got to say, ie remain calm and find out the truth before over-reacting . JAWI should draw up proper guidelines for all mosque to follow, that is the right thing going forward.
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