Controversial cleric told to 'keep mouth shut'

Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed (above) said his ministry was disappointed with controversial Muslim preacher Zamihan Mat Zin for repeatedly saying things that challenged Islam and the monarchy.
Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed (above) said his ministry was disappointed with controversial Muslim preacher Zamihan Mat Zin for repeatedly saying things that challenged Islam and the monarchy. PHOTO: THE STAR PUBLICATION

JOHOR BARU • Controversial Muslim preacher Zamihan Mat Zin has been told to keep his "mouth shut" and resign from the Malaysian civil service if he is unhappy with the government.

Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said his ministry was disappointed with Mr Zamihan for repeatedly saying things that challenged Islam and the monarchy.

After expressing views that hurt various groups, Mr Zamihan has gone further by criticising Prime Minister Najib Razak in a new viral video clip, Datuk Nur Jazlan said.

"My advice to him is to keep his mouth shut, think before speaking, and refrain from sensationalising matters. Otherwise, we will have to re-evaluate his role," he added yesterday.

His comments came in response to a video where Mr Zamihan criticised Datuk Seri Najib.

Mr Zamihan was last week described as an "asset" by Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for rehabilitating Malaysian terrorists in jail.

In a two-minute video that surfaced on YouTube on Oct 23, Mr Zamihan was seen criticising Mr Najib for proposing to allot a 16ha piece of land in Putrajaya for the Saudi Arabia-backed King Salman Centre for International Peace, which will work on countering terrorism. The preacher had called the move to give the land to the Saudis "unrealistic" and "not intelligent".

Mr Zamihan, who works for the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia, or Jakim, in the video also questioned why the government had not first sought the views of academics, security experts and people like him, on how to counter the message of terrorists.

"Why don't they ask us for our opinion? It is Zamihan who goes in and out of prisons to interact with the terrorists," he said.

"For me, the PM's action is not intelligent. Is it because we have borrowed money from (Saudi Arabia), and taken their funds and obtained assistance with the MOU on the haj quota that we have decided to give them the land?" he asked.

Mr Zamihan is being investigated by the Malaysian authorities for sedition, after he criticised the Sultan of Johor for barring a Muslims-only launderette from operating in the state.

He was also in the news recently for criticising a mosque official in Penang who allowed non-Muslims to take shelter in a mosque during heavy floods.

The preacher has been barred from giving sermons in Johor and Selangor due to his extremist Islamic views.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2017, with the headline 'Controversial cleric told to 'keep mouth shut''. Print Edition | Subscribe