PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya has terminated the contract of Zamihan Mat Zin, the controversial religious officer seconded to the Prisons Department for its deradicalisation programmes.
The decision by the home ministry comes a year after Zamihan, who was an officer with the Department of Islamic Development, or Jakim, angered the Johor ruler with a speech defending a laundrette in the state which banned non-Muslim customers over “hygiene” reasons.
Deputy Home Minister Azis Jamman told FMT that Zamihan’s contract, which was supposed to run until June 2019, has ended.
Then home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had previously defended Zamihan, hailing him as an “important asset” and “rehabilitation expert”.
When contacted, Zamihan denied he was under any contract, saying he was appointed to the home ministry’s panel of rehabilitation officers.
“I was appointed as a deradicalisation officer in the home ministry for two years by Zahid in June 2017 until 2019,” he said, adding his appointment was still “valid”.
“Some 46 individuals from different backgrounds were appointed with me as the head. The new government doesn’t have the power to cancel the appointment.”
He said the deradicalisation programme was still being carried out though not as lively as before.
Zamihan also revealed that following Mujahid Yusof Rawa’s appointment as a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department which oversees Jakim, he was asked to transfer from the home ministry to Jakim in 24 hours.
“I am a Jakim officer, before this I was loaned to the home ministry,” he said, adding he received the order to return to Jakim in June.
He added he wasn’t clear as to why he was asked to return to Jakim and that his efforts to get an explanation from Jakim’s human resources department also yielded no answers.
“You have to ask the Jakim director-general and the minister, only they have the answers, I also don’t know.”
Last October, Zamihan was arrested for sedition after allegedly criticising the Johor Sultan for rebuking the operator of a Muslim-only laundrette in Muar. He also made derogatory remarks about the hygiene of Chinese Malaysians.
Zamihan later denied being rude to the Johor Sultan, but issued an apology to the ruler, while also claiming he had been slandered by the media.