Johor Baru — Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, the Sultan of Johor, cried foul over an alleged political speech that Labis Member of Parliament (MP) Pang Hok Liong had allegedly given at a mosque on May 10. Mr Pang, however, asserted that he had only given a thank you speech, and announced that he was allocating RM1,000 to the mosque.
Furthermore, Mr Pang told Malay Mail that he would file a complaint with the police for insults he had received online.
A photo of the MP at the mosque had been posted on an anti-Pakatan Harapan Facebook page on May 15 and had been circulated, claiming that he had given a political speech.
Complaints about this had reached the Sultan, who reminded the public in a statement that both he and the Johor Islamic Religious Department had expressly told administrators of mosques that using the mosques for political activities is forbidden.
On the Royal Johor official website, the Sultan statement on the matter read, “The institution of the mosque in Johor is a zone which is free of political parties. The mosque is a place for the people to obtain tranquility and a peaceful environment as they get close to Allah without any political elements from any parties.
You can discuss politics and the different political ideologies from morning till night, from coffee shop to hotels, from the sidewalks to the mountain peaks, in order to get support, but not in the mosques.”
He is calling for the Council of the Religion of Islam Johor (MAIJ) to take firm action against mosque officials who allow political speeches to take place there, calling the incident with Mr Pang “a serious violation of the sanctity of the mosque as well as a threat to the position of Islam as the official religion of the state”.
On his part, the MP said that he had been invited to the mosque on May 10 by Tenang assemblyman Mohd Solihan Badri, the chairman of the Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee, for the purpose of attending the handover of the MP’s allocation.
He told Malay Mail, “I only gave a speech thanking the mosque committee for hosting me and also an announcement of my RM1,000 allocation to the mosque as it is in my Labis constituency.”
He had pledged, as the representative in parliament, to give RM1,000 to mosques and RM500 to all suraus in Labis.
Furthermore, the MP unequivocally denied having given a political speech. “Never did I gave a political speech in the mosque at that time,” he said.
“I didn’t touch anything on politics. My speech was brief. It was just to announce the aid and to wish them a happy Ramadan, that is it. Is there anything wrong with a non-Muslim giving contributions to a mosque?”
Sultan said in his statement that he was certain that the MP would deny that what he said at the mosque had a political bent. Nevertheless, he emphasized that such speeches should be banned from mosques.
“This is because many of the activities organised by representatives from political parties are coloured with statements that create conflict and contain insults, slander and become arenas for garnering the community’s sympathy to raise their popularity,” the Sultan added. / TISG