KUALA LUMPUR: A just retired former Special Branch officer today told the ongoing inquiry into missing Perlis activist Amri Che Mat that police were concerned about the spread of Shia Islam in Malaysia, amid allegations that police and local religious authorities had targeted Amri over his Shia belief.
Former police deputy commissioner Awaluddin Jadid was asked by Amri’s family lawyers to explain a speech he made in 2016, which among other things, refers to Shia Muslims as “enemies”.
The speech is crucial in the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia’s (Suhakam) inquiry into Amri’s disappearance because of allegations that he is a Shia Muslim.
When questioned, Awaluddin however said he did not believe Shia Muslims were violent, despite branding them enemies.
“The Special Branch have to be concerned because we don’t want something small to become big later,” he told the inquiry.
In the 2016 speech, Awaluddin had said: “If they (Shia) have a leader then it will become a problem for our security.”
He had also said there were Shia Muslims in the police force.
Awaluddin was then asked if he considered this a problem.
“The fatwa is that Shia is deviant and so it becomes a security concern,” he said, referring to the stand by Malaysian Islamic authorities, labelling Shia Islam as deviant.
Awaluddin said the concern over Shia Muslims was due to events in the Middle East.
“In countries like Syria and Iraq, there is war between Sunni and Shia Muslims.”
But family lawyers protested his statement, saying it had nothing to do with Malaysia.
On May 12, Amri’s wife Norhayati Ariffin claimed that she met with a Sergeant Shamzaini who had implicated Awaluddin in Amri’s disappearance.
On Monday, Awaluddin, who was part of the Special Branch’s Social and Religious Extremism Division at the Bukit Aman police headquarters, admitted that he met Perlis Mufti Asri Zainul Abidin in 2016 to discuss Amri’s activities.