KUALA LUMPUR: Although much has been said about the position of Islam in the country, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Barisan Nasional (BN) government remains committed to supporting the religion in line with the Federal Constitution.
The Prime Minister said Article 3 of the Constitution clearly states that Islam is the religion of the Federation, but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony.
He said the Government has done a lot to ensure that Islam continues to grow and Muslims in the country are protected.
“For example, in Budget 2017, I announced an allocation of RM50mil for government-aided religious schools and RM50mil for registered pondok religious schools.
“For the first time too, the Government allocated RM30mil to synchronise tahfiz education through the National Tahfiz Education Policy.
“This is an important step in determining that Tahfiz al-Quran institutions continue to flourish,” he said in his latest blog post, titled “Islam Under the Barisan Nasional”.
Najib said the Government recognised that Quran and Tahfiz Al-Quran education were significant ingredients in preserving Islam, especially in generating Islamic scholars to counter the accusations and slander by extremists against Islam.
“This is also one of the measures taken by the Government to curb the spread of extremism in Malaysia,” he said.
Najib said the welfare of imam, bilal and siak groups was also protected; under the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), 15,000 imams nationwide receive a monthly allowance of RM850, from RM750 previously; 16,000 siak received a one-off payment of RM500; while the monthly allowance of religious school teachers, numbering 33,000, was raised to RM900 from RM800.
On Haj pilgrim management, the Prime Minister said it was estimated that RM200mil would be spent by the Government this year, compared to RM160mil last year.
“Alhamdulillah, with the good relations enjoyed between the Barisan-led government and Saudi Arabian government, the haj pilgrim quota for Malaysia was increased to 30,200,” he said.
On the Government’s role in promoting Islam internationally, Najib said the moderation approach adopted by it has attracted many and Malaysia is seen as a progressive Islamic country by the world.
“We have received much international recognition for our efforts in the fight against so-called Islamic-based terrorism, and during my visit to India recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed interest in Malaysia’s de-radicalisation programme.
“Our voices were also heard when we protested against the atrocities suffered by the Rohingya in Myanmar.
“Well-known scholars, such as Mufti Menk, supported Malaysia’s efforts in spreading the concept of love and simplicity in Islam,” he said. – Bernama