By Yow Hong Chieh
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 5 — Former Federal CID chief Tan Sri Zaman Khan has come to the defence of the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC), expressing “disheartenment” over the late-night raid carried out there this week by Selangor religious authorities together with the police.
Speaking in his capacity as Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) president, he stressed that the dinner raided earlier this week had been organised for a “good cause” — raising funds to support Harapan Komuniti, whose primary aim is to help Malaysians with HIV regardless of race or religion.
“The fundraising event was a meaningful occasion for Malaysians living with HIV, particularly for those who are underprivileged, as it provided them with the opportunity to receive immediate financial assistance and support for proper medication, treatment and care,” he said in a statement today.
Zaman, also a former director-general of the Prisons Department, said he will seek the co-operation of Jais officials to provide a detailed explanation on the issue for “immediate resolution”.
He added that the authorities should take precautionary steps and seek the co-operation from all parties involved in matters that could potentially compromise the integrity of Islam to avoid interracial and religious conflict.
Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) enforcement officers raided the “1 Malaysia Muhibbah Fundraising Dinner” at the DUMC on Wednesday night without a warrant after receiving an unspecified complaint, bringing with them a team of policemen.
Between 100 and 120 people, including several Muslims, attended the non-religious event to celebrate Harapan Komuniti’s success in helping women, children, HIV/AIDS sufferers and victims of natural disasters.
Immediately after, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim called on Jais to furnish the state government with a full report on the purpose of the raid while giving an assurance that the state government fully respects freedom of religion and rights of religious groups.
But state executive councillor Datuk Hasan Ali defended Jais’s actions, alleging that the words “Quran” and “pray” were used in the presence of the 12 Muslims at the dinner, claiming that this was proof Christians had been proselytising to Muslims there.
Hasan’s PAS colleague, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, then sought to distance the party’s state leadership from its former chief by saying it was “not Selangor PAS’s stance”, revealing a deep and continuing rift between the Islamist party’s liberal and more hardline factions in the state.
The Malaysian Bar has slammed the raid as “disrespectful” of the right to association, pointing out that there is no law against Muslims entering church premises.