PETALING JAYA: The constitutionality of the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) needs to be studied in depth, said Datuk Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin (pic).
Stressing that she was speaking in her personal capacity and not as the G25 group spokesman, Farida said that Jakim – a public institution – should be open to criticism from the people.
“We would also like to see Jakim’s budget and have its spending audited to see how the taxpayers’ money is being spent,” she said yesterday.
She added that Tawfik Ismail, the son of Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman and a member of G25, had made a valid point when questioning the existence of Jakim.
Tawfik is now facing a probe under the Sedition Act for his remarks that Jakim should be abolished.
“I am not agreeing or disagreeing with Tawfik, but his questions merit an in-depth study.
“We need to examine the constitutionality of Jakim under the Federal Constitution as Jakim is a federal department.
“This is something even many constitutional lawyers have been questioning,” she said.
“It is wrong to stifle the rights of the people who highlight concerns which are of public interest.
“A cardinal principle we should follow is that those who hold positions in public office must be subject to great degrees of monitoring and scrutiny.
“Institutions like Jakim do not like public criticism against them, and the Sedition Act is being used on them.
“We are wasting the time of the police every time in asking for investigations under the Sedition Act against the person making the criticism.
“Basically, the Sedition Act is being abused and it is getting more and more absurd,” she said.