Jais offers to help bride-to-be change religion

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 05 Jun 2014

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) has offered to help bride-to-be Zarena Abdul Majid to change her religious status and name.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the state executive council had thorougly discussed the matter and Jais had said it was willing to assist her in dealing with the National Registration Department.

Jais had snatched Zarena midway through her wedding rituals at a Hindu temple in Shah Alam on Sunday, purportedly acting on public complaints.

Describing the incident as an embarrassment to the state government, the mentri besar said they will help Zarena change to a name of her choice and assist her in resolving the issue.

“Jais says it was not a raid, the press says it was a raid. To us, it’s an embarrassment,” said Khalid, adding that the department should have acted with humility and not disrupt the wedding.

“A wedding is a great occasion and they should not have spoilt it,” he said this at a press conference after chairing the weekly state exco meeting here yesterday.

Zarena had claimed she was a practising Hindu despite her estranged father, who converted to Islam when she and her siblings were children, registering them as Muslims.

Jais had denied it had raided the temple and said its officers had merely gone there to speak with the bride to determine her status.

The mentri besar said the state government had given Jais a stern warning over the debacle and instructed it to follow standard operating procedures (SOP) when conducting raids.

“Among the SOP requirements is for Jais to confer with the mentri besar and state exco first in matters concerning other religions and races,” he said.

“All Jais officers will have to adhere to this and action will be taken against officers who don’t.”

Jais officials were not available for comment.

However, Jais director Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad said in an SMS message to The Star that he was away attending a course.

Meanwhile, Khalid said the state government was waiting for feedback from the Attorney-General’s Chambers regarding the return of more than 300 Malay language bibles that were seized by Jais from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) on Jan 2.

“It has been six months. We regard one more month as tolerable (waiting) time,” said Khalid, adding that he would meet the A-G if there was still no feedback in a month.

The state government had requested the A-G’s Chambers to determine if Jais had the locus standi to hold the bibles that had been given the green light by the Home Ministry.

Related stories:

Incident has angered the Indian community, says MIC

Dr M slams Jais over raid

MCA wants Constitution to be amended to prevent disputes over religious conversions

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