DAP to have dialogue with Perlis mufti Asri

Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin.

PETALING JAYA: Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin has agreed to meet DAP leaders, including DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, following his reported criticism of the party.

Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim Chee Keong, in a statement, said Asri had alleged that the media had misreported his comments on DAP and Islam.

Sim said DAP was always willing to accept “with an open heart” criticism and advice and hoped such dialogues with Asri will lead to greater understanding on all sides.

At the same time, the party will also defend itself against false accusations by the opposition that it was against Islam, he added.

Sim listed out what DAP, as a component of the Pakatan Harapan federal government, had done for Islam and religious institutions.

He said in the case of Penang, the DAP-led state government had been increasing annual allocations for religious schools and providing allowances to religious teachers.

It had also provided 40ha of land to be developed into a halal hub.

The Penang government is also in the process of providing the first Islamic digital library in Southeast Asia.

Sim said at the federal level, Lim, when tabling Budget 2019 as the finance minister, had set aside an additional RM100 million for Islamic affairs, increasing the allocation from RM1.1 billion in 2018 to RM1.2 billion in 2019.

The federal government had set aside RM25 million for religious schools and another RM25 million for registered “pondok” schools.

He noted that both these types of schools did not get any funds in Budget 2018, tabled by the Barisan Nasional government.

Additionally, RM50 million was set aside for 815 registered tahfiz schools in the country.

For 2019, the finance ministry had allocated RM5 million for Kompleks Nasyrul Quran to print more copies of the Quran, Sim said.

On top of that, the finance ministry also injected RM17.8 billion to “rehabilitate Tabung Haji after some wrongdoings by the previous government”, Sim added.

“DAP always respects the position of Islam as the official religion of the federation, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

“However, it continues to be the target of the opposition who alleges the party is anti-Islam.”