Selangor Sultan chides MP for 'political talk' in mosque

MP for Subang R. Sivarasa speaking at Masjid An-Nur, Kampung Melayu Subang, last Wednesday. The Selangor Sultan has directed the state's Islamic Religious Department to ask the mosque administrator why he allowed Mr Sivarasa to deliver a talk there.
MP for Subang R. Sivarasa speaking at Masjid An-Nur, Kampung Melayu Subang, last Wednesday. The Selangor Sultan has directed the state's Islamic Religious Department to ask the mosque administrator why he allowed Mr Sivarasa to deliver a talk there.PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF PUSAT KHIDMAT MASYARAKAT PENYELERAS DUN KOTA DAMANSARA

But opposition MP says he was giving a brief Ramadan message

KLANG • Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah is angry and disappointed with Member of Parliament for Subang R. Sivarasa for allegedly giving a political talk in a mosque last Wednesday, news agency Bernama reported yesterday.

The ruler said Mr Sivarasa's actions marred the sanctity of the mosque and disrespected his decree against using mosques for any political activities. The Sultan also ordered the state's religious department to investigate the incident.

Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) director Haris Kasim said the department had called the An-Nur Mosque administrator last Friday to explain the incident and to submit a report to the Sultan on Monday.

Datuk Haris said that after studying the report, the Sultan directed JAIS to take immediate action against the mosque administrator and the organiser of the talk.

Said Mr Haris: "We have asked the administrator to submit a show-cause letter this week and to explain why he allowed Sivarasa to deliver a talk in that mosque."

Mr Haris said he was made to understand that the administrator was unaware of Mr Sivarasa's presence at the presentation ceremony of donations at the mosque last Wednesday and that there was no talk scheduled to be given during the event, reported Bernama.

Mr Sivarasa, an opposition MP from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), has denied delivering a political speech at the event, saying he was only there to hand out a RM71,000 (S$23,000) state contribution to mosques and prayer halls in his constituency and give a brief Ramadan message.

NOT A POLITICAL TALK

I was there to deliver a brief Ramadan message and I stressed on the commitment by the Selangor government to always look after the welfare of mosques in the state. I also shared some of my experience visiting this mosque as an MP in 2008.

MR R. SIVARASA

"I was there to deliver a brief Ramadan message and I stressed on the commitment by the Selangor government to always look after the welfare of mosques in the state. I also shared some of my experience visiting this mosque as an MP in 2008," he was quoted by Malay language daily Berita Harian as saying.

Yesterday, Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali said Muslim and non-Muslim political leaders should abide by the rules in respecting mosques and suraus, or prayer halls, as places of worship which also unite Muslims.

"Elected representatives are allowed to organise events at the mosques and surau, but have them in the mosque or surau compound, not in the prayer area.

"On Subang Member of Parliament R. Sivarasa making a speech at a mosque in Subang last week, I had an audience with the Sultan of Selangor... to explain the situation," he told reporters yesterday, according to news site Malay Mail Online.

Non-Muslim opposition MPs have drawn flak before for appearing in mosques. In 2010, Democratic Action Party MP Ms Teo Nie Ching came under fire for speaking in a mosque wearing a form-fitting traditional dress and with her head uncovered. A few weeks before that, PKR leader A. Xavier Jayakumar was criticised for speaking from a lectern normally reserved for Muslim clerics.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2017, with the headline 'Selangor Sultan chides MP for 'political talk' in mosque'. Print Edition | Subscribe