KUCHING: The Malay Rulers have expressed support for the stand taken by the Sultan of Johor and the Raja Muda of Perlis in condemning Muslim-only launderettes.
In a statement delivered by the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Tan Sri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad yesterday, the Malay Rulers said it is imperative that all citizens adhere to the core principles embedded in the Federal Constitution, which was drafted based on the understanding that Malaysia is a country whose citizens are of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds, and that all must be respected.
“In recent weeks, the actions of certain individuals have gone beyond all acceptable standards of decency, putting at risk the harmony that currently exists within our multi-religious and multi-ethnic society. The Rulers are of the opinion that the damaging implications of such actions are more severe when they are erroneously associated with or committed in the name of Islam. As a religion that encourages its followers to be respectful, moderate and inclusive, the reputation of Islam must not ever be tainted by the divisive actions of certain groups or individuals which may lead to rifts among the rakyat.”
The Malay Rulers said the position taken by the Sultan of Johor and the Raja Muda of Perlis demonstrate their commitment to ensuring that Muslims behave with respect, moderation and inclusiveness, in a country which is home to people of many different ethnic groups and religions.
“Unity among Malaysia’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious people is key to ensuring the country’s ongoing stability. After sixty years of independence, we must continue to act in accordance with the principles embodied within the Constitution and manifested in the spirit of the Rukun Negara.
“The Rukun Negara, which was proclaimed as our national philosophy by the fourth Yang di-Pertuan Agong on 31 August 1970 outlines five aspirations and five guiding principles for the country of Malaysia. It must continue to serve as a compass to all parties, be they leaders, government officials and citizens of our country.”
Last month, photos of a launderette in Muar, Johor went viral on social media for putting up a sign saying it only accepted Muslim customers. Following a rebuke from the Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, the owner apologised and removed the sign.
In the same week, another launderette with a similar policy in Perlis also reversed its restriction following a visit from Perlis Mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin and Raja Muda Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail.
Yesterday’s statement from the Malay Rulers comes as former Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) officer and Sunni Organisation Malaysia (Aswaja) president Zamihan Mat Zain reportedly criticised the Johor Sultan in a religious lecture at a mosque in Shah Alam on Sunday.
Earlier today, IGP Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun told reporters that Zamihan was being investigated under Section 4 of the Sedition Act over comments he made regarding a Malay Ruler, reports The Malay Mail.
In the lecture, which was caught on video and shared on YouTube, the Aswaja president said the sultan was wrong to stop a laundrette in Muar from implementing a Muslim-only policy.
In the video, he also made racist remarks about the Chinese, calling them “unhygienic” for not washing up after urinating and defecating, and for consuming alcohol and pork.
He then said that it justified Muslims not wanting to use washing machines that have washed clothes used by the Chinese.
Meanwhile, Zamihan has denied that he had openly criticised the Johor Ruler for condemning a Muslim-only launderette in a public lecture on Sunday, reports the Malay Mail, also earlier today.
In a statement, he said that he had never mentioned Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar’s name in the video of the lecture referred to by news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT), which yesterday reported the man’s alleged insult.
He also urged the authorities to investigate FMT for sedition and said he would sue the news portal and other media that carried the report if they fail to retract and apologise within a week.