JOHOR BARU - The Sultan of Johor has ticked off a Pakatan Harapan MP for making a speech at a mosque in Labis, stressing that political activities are not allowed in any mosque or surau in the state.
In a royal decree posted on his official website on Thursday (May 16), Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar said he had received complaints about Labis MP Pang Hok Liong, who gave a speech at the Tenang Stesyen Mosque on May 10.
He said the MP's actions "brought about uneasiness, deep disappointment and stirred objections from Muslims in the local area as well as Johor generally".
The ruler also described Mr Pang's actions as "a serious violation of the sanctity of the mosque as well as a threat to the position of Islam as the official religion of the state".
Mr Pang told new site Malaysiakini that he did not raise any political issues in his speech and was at the mosque merely to hand out aid in conjunction with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
"I didn't touch anything on politics. My speech was brief. It was just to announce the aid and to wish them a happy Ramadan, that is it. Is there anything wrong with a non-Muslim giving contributions to a mosque?" he said, as quoted by Malaysiakini.
Sultan Ibrahim noted in his decree that he was sure the MP would deny making political speeches at the event. However, he wanted to stress that mosques and suraus are off-limits for political activities.
"This is because many of the activities organised by representatives from political parties are coloured with statements that create conflict and contain insults, slander and become arenas for garnering the community's sympathy to raise their popularity," he said.
The ruler urged the Johor Islamic Council to take stern action against any mosque administrators who provide politicians with a platform for their political activities at the mosque, and to step up enforcement to prevent such incidents in the future.
This is the latest disagreement to surface between the ruling Pakatan Harapan government and the Johor royal family since they clashed in April over who had the final say on official appointments to the Johor state government.