IPOH: A surau at Taman Pengkalan Utama here has been censured by the Perak Islamic Religious Department (JAIPk), after a Chinese New Year celebration was held there.
JAIPk director Datuk Mohd Yusop Haji Husin said the surau had defied its instructions for disrespecting the sensitivity of the Muslims and Malay community in the area.
"Based on some postings on social media, we found that there have been a lion dance, lighting of fireworks and a speech by the Ipoh Timur MP during the celebration on Feb 1.
"The lion dance and fireworks have caused a negative reaction and anger among the Malay community," he said in a press statement Friday (Feb 7).
"And having the Member of Parliament give a speech may be seen as going against the instructions and law as set," he added.
Mohd Yusop said JAIPk has been informed by the surau committee on the celebration on Jan 31.
"We have questioned the suitability for such a programme to be held, given that there were no Chinese members in the surau.
"The surau committee chairman said the programme was to build a closer rapport with the non-Muslim folk and to show that they also respect the culture of various races, while changing the negative perception towards Islam," he said.
"He also said there would be a kompang performance and a feast, while Ipoh Timur MP Wong Kah Woh and Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Dr Abdul Aziz Bari have been invited with hopes to get some funding to upkeep the surau," he added.
Mohd Yusop said the surau committee chairman has apologised for the incident and has also sent in a formal letter, admitting his mistake and oversight.
"We will bring the matter up in the next Perak Islamic Religious Council and Malay Customs meeting.
"I would like to reiterate that we have no objections and would support programmes that promote harmony and understanding between races and among the people," he said.
"But whatever programmes to be held at mosques or surau, it needs to respect the sensitivity of the Muslims and the Malay community, while not causing conflict with Malay customs.
"We also wish to remind all mosque and surau committees not to allow their premises to be used for any activities by political parties to gain mileage," he added.
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