PETALING JAYA: The Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim) needs more than RM1bil annually to cater to the increasing demands of Malaysian Muslims and to combat those who are out to deny Islam as the federal religion.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki (pic) said this in response to an article by a local portal, which revealed that the religious body nearly spent RM1bil this year.
RM1bil isn't enough, he retorted, as more funds were needed for religious officers and teachers as their task to protect the religion was becoming more challenging amid widespread "extreme ideologies".
"The Islamic State, liberalism, pluralism such as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender are the examples of radical ideologies which belittle the religion," he wrote on his Facebook page Sunday.
Apart from managing the allowances of more than 30,000 Kafa (religious studies) teachers and more than 15,000 imams throughout the country, he said the allocation for Jakim is relevant.
"In fact, it is not enough in meeting the demands of the majority of Malaysians who are Muslims.
"Therefore, we are grateful to those who raised this issue as it has opened the Government's eyes that Jakim needs a higher allocation next year," he said.
Dr Asyraf also justified Jakim's existence, saying that it started as a small unit under the National Council for Islamic Religious Malaysia (MKI) in 1968 with the consent of the Conference of Rulers.
The unit was then upgraded to become a division under the Prime Minister's Department, before finally being renamed Jakim on Jan 1, 1997.
"This means, Jakim's existence had the consent of the Conference of Rulers and it became a coordinating secretariat in charge of Islamic affairs for MKI," he said.
Dr Asyraf said Jakim was responsible in carrying out its duty to protect the sanctity of the religion, in accordance with Islam being the official religion.