Tawfik Ismail to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad: Close Jakim

June 2, 2018

Tawfik Ismail to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad: Close Jakim and stop playing footsy

by Sheith Khidhir Bin Abu Bakar http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Image result for Tawfik Ismail

A frequent critic of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has voiced his opposition to a plan to evaluate the agency’s role, saying it should be dissolved straight away.

“Jakim is redundant as a religious body,” said Tawfik Ismail, who served as MP for Sungai Benut from 1986 to 1990.

He spoke to FMT in reaction to Putrajaya’s announcement that a committee would be appointed to decide whether Jakim should continue with its current role or “revert to its original purpose”.

Explaining his assertion that the department is redundant, he said: “In the case of halal certificates, the state religious departments are empowered to issue them. If ingredients need to be checked, we have the health and agriculture ministries, which have all the necessary equipment and expertise.

Image result for Jakim

“Moreover, if an item is halal in, say, Egypt or Saudi Arabia or Jordan, why would it need the Malaysian halal certification? This adds to the cost, putting consumers at a disadvantage.

“And there are complaints that the manufacturer has to pay all charges for a Jakim team to verify the halal quality of a product, even if the product is manufactured in Malaysia.”

Tawfik questioned whether the attempt to save Jakim was really an attempt to save Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s face.

“Mahathir doesn’t want to admit that setting up Jakim was wrong and that it was done only in an attempt to paint himself as more Islamic than PAS.”

He also said he suspected that Jakim had gone beyond what Mahathir initially had in mind for it, adding that this might be the reason for the controversial actions taken in recent years by itself and other religious bodies that likely followed its example.

“There were the ridiculous issues over hot dogs and root beer, the court action against Borders Bookstore, and the shaming of Mustafa Akyol.”

Image result for Jakim and  Mustafa Akyol

In May 2012, Borders manager Nik Raina Abdul Aziz was charged by the Federal Territories Religious Department (Jawi) for allegedly selling a book that defiled Islam. The civil Court of Appeal eventually found that the book, Irshad Manji’s “Allah, Liberty and Love”, had not been prohibited by any religious authority or the home ministry at the time the charge was made in a shariah court.

The appellate court concluded that Nik Raina was charged simply because she was a Muslim and because Jawi could not exercise its jurisdiction over her employer or her non-Muslim supervisor. It ruled that the proceedings against her were “unreasonable” and “irrational” and offended “the principle of fairness and justice”.

Last September, Akyol, a Turkish journalist, ran into trouble with the religious authorities during a visit to Malaysia for allegedly teaching Islam without credentials.

FMT’s attempts to reach Jakim for its comment on Putrajaya’s plan have failed.

21 thoughts on “Tawfik Ismail to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad: Close Jakim

    • This is a stupid statement. While the author stated that he should not comment on religious issues, he himself commented and then censored the rights of others to do the same.

      Whether you are a Muslim or not, the poorly run and ‘corrupt’ department called Jakim rules over the lives of Malaysians. It reports not to Parliment but lords over a vast range of issues that affect all.

      Jakim is divisive on national unity and has no understanding of the need for moderation.

    • Please see my comment dated 3.6.18 which may be self explanatory.
      It is not my intention to restrict others but it must be noted that extremist religious persons can exploit if non same religion people were to pass adverse comments.

  1. “..if an item is halal in, say, Egypt or Saudi Arabia or Jordan, why would it need the Malaysian halal certification?”

    Ahh.., that’s the secret of ‘Branding’ kleptomo style..
    That’s why the Japs and PRC manufacturers prefer certification from states like Brunei, where kakistocracy and kleptocracy is minimal.

    But i don’t think Jakim will be abolished – it’s focus will no doubt have to shift from a hard-line conservative stance to a more inclusive one. What form it takes, i leave to your imagination – but moderate Minister like Mujahid Rawa, Hanipa Maidin or Khalid Samad, will be appreciated by the Nons.

    And i think it’s RM 1 billion budget is way too much.., while there is this on-going strange Tabung Harapan operating..

    • Btw, it’s not Jakim that’s responsible for the Halal Certification but one of it’s agencies – Halal Development Corp (HDC), which should face the ax.

      The PH government really has to be more circumspect and employ a sharper blade to excise superfluous and wasteful bureaucracy. Bludgeoning is a sure symptom of caveman hubris..

    • What inclusive? Want jakim, ask this stupid dog called cl flamiaris to pay?

      You are just an australia dog. Not supposed to get meat by simplying barking

  2. gursharan38 … you are wrong . Non muslims in Malaysia are Malaysians too and should share their thoughts and ideas on everything that is Malaysian because it affects all Malaysians . There is ” wealth ” in diversity and this can only be harnessed if Malaysians discuss Malaysian matters openly.

    • Religion is sensitive and almost every religions has faced abuses by its leaders since time immemorial.
      This may be due possibly to the power it provides over its followers but also comtrol of religious trust funds and other assets. Religious institutions posses billion of US$ in wealth and assets and maycontinue to collect hundrrds of millions US$ annually. Thus anyone in position of power may create problems if threatened with exposure and position and those not of same religion can be made scapegoats to create problems and this should be avoided by all mot involved.

  3. Religion is personal between God and the Believer. The case involving Jakim and Siti Kassim can shed some light on the working of religious organizations.Also how a book written by a Muslim on Islam can be banned. Is it because of the contrarian view?

    • I wonder if that dog is an atheist. If so, he must banished forever in aussie land

      Pauline hanson is very sad. Console her

    • Why cant we follow pancasila style? Islam is just a religion like any other religion. Indons knew that. They dont have islamic police except that stupid aceh

  4. Though every citizen should be able to present his or her opinion as to the abolishment of Jakim, it is only people like Tawfik Ismail who can speak like he did and not be accused of being anti-Malay/anti-Islam. Such as the political reality even today. Hopefully, a day will come when opinions regarding ANY religion could be aired without warnings/attacks/advisement from any quarter(s).

    • You can definitely say that in America, and it is not sacrilegious. Amen to what you have said. But, personally, it makes me appreciate religion even more. The entire Bible, the Quran and the Hadith would all agree with you on that. Removed all these books, in which we have done in recent history, the same still applies.

  5. There are 1.8 billion ways to become a Muslim.

    Jakim and other islamic agencies are run by some Malay/Muslim racist and
    bigot for politically purposes to control and exploit the decent ordinary Malay/Muslim.

    The Constitution did not provide for the allocation of taxpayers’ money for religious purposes, let alone religious institutions and 1 billion. Every religion has to find their own money to build their place of worship and to fund its activities.

    Some of money could have been used to fund Islamic extremism and terrorism.

  6. There really needs to be a separation of the church (religion) and the state.
    As far as I’m concerned, the government should never involve itself with any matters concerning religion. Recognizing Islam as the national religion of the country is good enough, for all other matters concerning the welfare of the religion – leave it to the individual bodies to sort the matter out.

  7. Icrenoir, the Jews call every critic an ANTI SEMITE. They have been doing so for at least a century. Does that mean we stop criticizing them?

  8. @perahu, it is interesting that as one who appreciates diversity would have such strong conviction on Jewish people. Growing up in Malaysia as a non, I really could not understand that rationale. Perhaps, the jabatan in charge of Kemajuan Islam could do well to share the reason for the strong conviction, or reasons for a few to not hold such a strong conviction. For myself, I find it strange why some of my countrymen are so excited about putting an embassy in Jerusalem. I mean I do read my Bible, and I do read eschatology commentaries. A Jakim that is well verse in my Potus’ religion to advise him on the much ado about nothing of the location of embassy could help.

  9. I know Dr Bakri. To me, he represented a modern Muslim who takes his faith seriously. He is not young. But, I guess young Malaysia (based on today’s median age of Melayu) would need a Doctor like Dr Bakri who could both speak a modern language and the Islamic tradition. Perhaps, Malaysia still needs an agency to bridge the gap. But, it probably shouldn’t be called Kemajuan Islam as if Islam were backward, something being pushed forth suddenly after the fall of Ottoman. The liberal Berkeley has a white man who built the first Islamic college in America. Perhaps, Malaysia needs that kind of institution also. I don’t know if it should be financed by the government. But, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Malaysia owes it to herself and humanity to see how it could be done. As such, I pray such entity could find confidence to say it is wrong to treat the nonBumi as second caste in a bangsa Malaysia.

  10. It boils down to emphasis on religious issues and racism that caused many other Malaysians uncomfortable where politicians took the oportunity to gain political points for self interest. The new government has the Islamic Council and State Sultans to oversee the religious issues with no necessity of Jakim to handle some Islamic issues. Most people would agree that Jakim should have been de-registered as allegedly mentioned by Taufik Ismail in many of his press statements.

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