Sunday, August 23, 2009

JIM Press Statement: Answering Jeff Ooi

JIM Press Statement:

Answering Jeff Ooi

YB Ooi Chuan Aun, Member of Parliament for Jelutong, better known as Jeff Ooi, is still campaigning to remove Mohd Razali Abdullah, a Penang Municipal Councillor from the OSC (One-Stop Centre) Committee.

Jeff Ooi had persistently cited Mohd Razali’s membership of Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM), an Islamic NGO, as the reason for calling for his removal. To Ooi, Mohd Razali’s membership of JIM put him in a conflict-of- interest situation, alleging that he will put the Islamic interest before the interest of the Pakatan Rakyat and the people.. We assert that the Islamic interest would also serve the good interest of the people. We are confident that his Islamic credentials and professional experience will make him better equipped for the assigned responsibility.

YB Ooi was also reported to have said that Mohd Razali’s appointment was a “dangerous precedent”, alluding to JIM’s vision of a Malaysia that fully implements the syariah. If YB Ooi had not noticed, living by the syariah (Islam) would be the shared aspiration of Muslims not only in Malaysia but all over the world. We are perplexed as to why an appointment of a person that is true to Islam be a dangerous precedent. Islam had been around for so long that surely, peoples’ recent misunderstandings and prejudices against it would not efface its nobility or its relevance to society. This is the same Islam that built a modern civilisation which had great influence on the West. This was the safe haven that welcomed the Jews from the terror of the Inquisition. It would not be beyond the common man to understand and appreciate its beauty.

JIM will continue to advocate for the understanding of Islam as Islam is. We prefer to present Islam as a choice, work on building an acceptance and consensus while leaving it to the people to make their choice. Contrary to Ooi’s assumption, we believe our position has a stronger claim according to the Malaysian Constitution than the secular position he seemed to be championing.

As a responsible NGO we stand for preserving peace, upholding law and order and justice for all. We will continue to campaign for human rights and dignity, good governance (transparency, accountability, efficiency) and for the empowerment of the individuals and communities through effective participation in the democratic process.

Mohd Razali was a PKR appointee to the OSC committee, appointed on the basis of his political association and not for his NGO affiliation. As this is an internal matter, we urge the Pakatan Rakyat and the Penang Government to look into the underlying reasons for this very public spat. However, we expect Mohd Razali to be judged by his performance.

Zaid Kamaruddin
Pertubuhan Jamaah Islah Malaysia
4 August 2009

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