PETALING JAYA: The Penang state government will write to Putrajaya to push for permanent residency to be granted to the leader of the Taman Free School surau which took in non-Muslim flood victims during last weekend’s deluge.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told FMT that he would write to Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi about the matter.
“I’ll write to Zahid Hamidi to support surau leader Sapno Tukij’s application to be a PR (permanent resident).
“Of course, the government must also consider many other deserving applicants,” he said when contacted today.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohd Rashid Hasnon said the Immigration Department could propose to the Home Ministry to approve Sapno’s PR status, provided his application fulfilled the required criteria.
“Special consideration can also be made as his wife is a Malaysian (Penangite), and he has stayed in Malaysia for 29 years and has contributed to society as a bilal (muezzin).
“However, the approval to use the surau for the flood victims, including non-Muslims, was given by the chairman and his committee,” he told FMT.
It was also reported in Harian Metro that Immigration director-general Mustafar Ali had promised to help Sapno secure his permanent residency.
Sapno grabbed the headlines recently after offering refuge at the surau to about 70 flood victims, mainly of Chinese and Indian descent.
His good deed received praises including from Prime Minister Najib Razak. However, there were some who criticised him for allowing non-Muslims in the surau.
Sapno, however, was unfazed by the criticism, saying saving lives was more important.
Over half of Penang was submerged in flood waters following hours of torrential rain that killed seven people over the weekend. More than 6,000 people were also evacuated from their homes.