Malaysian cleric slams leader of Indian origin

May 15th, 2008 - 3:40 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, May 15 (IANS) Malaysian Indian leader Karpal Singh’s criticism of a member of the Malaysian royal family is tantamount to being disrespectful to Islam, Harussani Zakaria, the mufti (interpreter of Islamic jurisprudence) of Perak state, has said. Zakaria said this was because the constitution had stated that the sultans, or rulers, and the king are the heads of Islamic affairs.

“DAP (Democratic Action Party) chairman Karpal Singh, in questioning the authority of the Sultan of Perak Azlan Shah, was disrespectful to the constitution. As a citizen of the country, Karpal had been disloyal to the rulers and hurt the feelings of the Malays,” Zakaria said.

Singh, 68, a prominent lawyer and opposition lawmaker, has denied being disrespectful to the sultan of Perak or questioning his constitutional position and privileges.

Singh said he had only criticised the sultan’s move to block the transfer of a senior official in the state in charge of the religious affairs department, saying that the constitutional head should not engage in appointments and transfers.

Harussani said that although Singh had a right to talk about laws, the sultan had the power over religious matters and it was an issue sensitive to the Malays.

“The various ethnic groups in Malaysia live in peace and harmony and Singh’s action would only anger the rakyat (polity),” he said.

The mufti’s statement came even as two more cases were filed against Singh at different police stations, bringing the total to 20. Police recorded Singh’s statement last week.

Malaysia’s attorney general this week said the case against Singh is “almost complete”.

Last week, Singh blamed Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his government of giving “a purely legal issue a political twist” by getting many people to file cases against him.

He has also criticised Badawi for making a public statement stressing the urgency of moving the proceedings against Singh.

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