Serdang MP to apologise over surau gaffe


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 29 Aug 2010

PETALING JAYA: Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching, in trouble with state Islamic authorities for giving a talk in the prayer hall of a surau in Kajang on Sunday, said she will give a clarification to the Sultan of Selangor as well as apologise to the ruler over her conduct.

“I will clarify and apologise to the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Shara­fuddin Idris Shah,” she said in a statement here yesterday.

A photograph of Teo standing before a congregation at the Al-Huda surau in Kajang Sentral and delivering a speech in a kebaya without covering her head had appeared in various blogs and was also picked up by the mainstream media recently.

Reacting to the incident, the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (MAIS) said on Friday it would issue a warning letter to Teo, whose action was said to have upset the Sultan.

The ruler was reportedly also angry with the surau management committee and had ordered MAIS to take stern action.

Defending her action, Teo said she had visited the surau on Aug 22 to present financial aid from the state government to repair its gate.

She then joined the committee and the congregation in breaking fast.

“As I was invited to give a brief speech, I made a sincere effort to explain the state’s education programme for the benefit of the people.

“I regret that the matter has caused restlessness among Mus­lims nationwide and this issue has been further heated up by certain quarters due to political reasons,” she said.

PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat has defended Teo, saying that what the MP did was the best way to get to know Muslims better.

“There is nothing wrong for a non-Muslim woman to speak in a surau as long as she is decently dressed,” he said.

Selangor DAP chairman Ean Yong Hian Wah said he regretted MAIS’ warning to Teo, who was only carrying out her duty to help all levels of the country’s multi-racial and multi-religious society.

Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said it was totally unnecessary, insulting and unbecoming of Teo to have entered a sacred part of the surau to purportedly give a tazkirah and gifts during a religious function.

She said the DAP, having been around a long time, should have known what was sensitive and offensive to Islam and other religions.

Barisan Youth and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said there was “extreme naivety” on Teo’s part and it “maybe shows DAP’s lack of sensitivity towards other race and religion”.

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