Uphold moderate Islam, but don’t be too liberal, says Najib’s ex-aide

The new Pakatan Harapan government has yet to explain its policies regarding Islam. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: A former special officer to Najib Razak hopes Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad will promote a more moderate Islam but warns against allowing it to become too liberal.

Fathul Bari Mat Jahaya, an Umno Youth exco member who was once part of Umno’s “Young Ulama” group, said he was hoping for an Islam which rejects liberalism but is also able to open the minds of those deemed to be more conservative.

“We don’t want to be too open to the point that Islam becomes liberal and its fundamentals are forsaken,” he said when asked where he thought Islam would head under Pakatan Harapan (PH).

The word “liberal” is often used by Islamic authorities when criticising PH and civil societies.

Fathul, a graduate from Saudi Arabia and a staunch supporter of Najib’s administrative policies which leaned towards the Middle Eastern country, said apart from inviting Muslims to have open minds, it was also important to adhere to the strictures in the Quran.

“There are limits and red lines,” Fathul said. “We cannot cross them.”

He said there needed to be a balance so that interpretations deemed too conservative will not emerge in a world where information is accessible to the people.

“There have been very positive developments in the West and Asia as far as Islam is concerned. We need to present a moderate Islam which addresses the concerns of both this world and the hereafter.”

Since winning Putrajaya last week, Mahathir has yet to explain his government’s policies regarding Islam.

When asked to comment on rumours that the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) would be abolished, Mahathir said it had not been discussed.

In his first blog post since the election, however, Mahathir said there would be a change in Islamic administration.

“Emphasis will be given by the PH government to Islamic teaching based on the Quran and reliable hadith,” he said.