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Sunday August 18, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday August 18, 2013 MYT 7:38:58 AM
by mazwin nik anis
KUALA LUMPUR: The Singaporean resort owner who allowed a Buddhist group to use a surau for meditation is no longer a Malaysian permanent resident as the Home Ministry has revoked his PR status with immediate effect.
Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the ministry decided to revoke the Singaporean Muslim’s PR status as he did not respect the local religious sensitivities.
He said the man had been informed of the decision while he was under remand.
“Let this be a lesson to those to whom the Government has graciously and generously awarded citizenship and permanent resident status that they must abide by and respect the country’s laws.
“The action was taken after the ministry, through the National Registration Department, carried out an indepth study on the resort owner. The status is only a facility given by the Government, and not a privilege,” he told reporters at a Hari Raya do organised by Pengasih here yesterday.
The 45-year-old had caused outrage among the community in Tanjung Sedili Besar after a visitor to the resort, who wanted to perform Asar prayers last Saturday, stumbled upon the Buddhist group from Singapore meditating in the surau. The owner had allowed them to do so.
Ahmad Zahid said the Government had the right to revoke the PR status on individuals who acted outside of the law, especially involving the sanctity of Islam.
“The stringent action was taken because it touched on religious sensitivities, that is all. Similar action will be taken if other religions are insulted,” he added.
Asked if revoking the PR would sour relations between Malaysia and Singapore, the minister said: “This has nothing to do with Singapore. This is about our laws and sensitivity which must be respected by everyone.” He said the resort owner would still be able to enter Malaysia but would be subjected to Immigration laws.
Zahid also said he was among the Umno leaders who had been vocal in defending the usage of the word “Allah”. He was adamant that only Muslims could use the word.
The Government is appealing a 2009 High Court ruling lifting the ministry’s ban on the use of “Allah” in the Malay language Bible. The appeal will be heard next month.
In Besut, Bernama reported religious adviser to the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Abdullah Md Zain as saying that disunity among Muslims in the country had encouraged others to challenge the position of Islam.
“It is sad that Islam is often ridiculed by believers of other faiths, starting from the word ‘Allah’ until the defiling of a surau in Johor for worship by believers of other faiths,” he told reporters at a Hari Raya do in Gong Kemuntong, yesterday.
Abdullah said religious issues should have been stopped with the “Allah” case but the support given by a handful of Muslims dragged the issue and led to other similar cases.
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