Umno unhappy Putrajaya postpones upgrade works for mosques

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GEORGE TOWN: A Penang Umno leader has accused Putrajaya of targeting projects for the Muslim community in the state in the government’s austerity measures, including putting on hold renovation of mosques and suraus.

Umno’s Wanita deputy chief Norliza Abd Rahim said upgrading works on at least nine mosques and suraus were shelved, as well as allocations for Islamic religious classes and private religious schools, or Sekolah Agama Rakyat.

She said the projects had been approved by the previous government.

“The postponement of these projects has disappointed Muslims in the areas affected, who are hoping their mosques and religious classes will be improved and upgraded,” she said, adding that it fuelled doubts over Pakatan Harapan’s commitment to help Muslims.

She also urged the state’s Islamic council, or MAINPP, to fight for the projects to be reinstated.

MAINPP president Abdul Malik Abul Kassim said the projects were under an administrative review by the federal government, and were awaiting confirmation from the relevant ministries.

“I would like to assure all Muslims in Penang the projects will be continued,” he told FMT.

He said the projects would take off on a needs basis and with an extended timeline.

“It might be sooner or later, depending on the speed of funds from the federal government,” he said, adding that the issue should not be politicised.

A letter dated May 31 from the Federal Development Office in Penang, which comes under the Prime Minister’s Department, lists nine mosque and suraus affected by the postponement.

In the letter addressed to the Penang Islamic Affairs Council (MAINPP), it was stated that mosques can pursue upgrades at their own cost without relying on the federal funds.