GEORGE TOWN: Minister in charge of Islamic affairs Mujahid Yusof Rawa today defended the RM1.3 billion federal budget given to the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim), saying Jakim only spends 40% of the amount.
The other 60%, he said, went to paying imams and religious teachers across the country.
Mujahid said those who criticised Jakim for “getting too much” should take over the payment of salaries to religious leaders and scholars.
“The number of imams, guru ta’mir, guru tahfiz and others is close to tens of thousands throughout the country. (A total of) 60% of the RM1.3 billion parked under Jakim goes to them.
“Jakim is only left with 40% of that. If there is any government department that wants to take over (paying the imams and others), by all means, go ahead.
“Since you do not want Jakim to have that money, let others pay the 60%,” he told reporters after opening the Penang Bar Committee’s Wakaf Symposium at a hotel here today.
Mujahid also responded to criticism by lecturer Sharifah Munirah Alatas, who had asked how Jakim fostered the progressiveness of Islam in the country.
He said he had been working on reforms at Jakim since he was appointed a minister. His key reform, he said, was to change the narrative of Islam to “Rahmatan Lil Alamin” or compassionate Islam.
The other reforms being carried out included improvement to the regulatory functions of Islamic administration at both the state and federal levels.