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Zamihan in charge of ‘deradicalisation’, but Sapno denied PR

COMMENT | We recently learned two things.

First, that controversial preacher Zamihan Mat Zin will have his services retained by the federal government, ostensibly as an expert in rehabilitating terrorists.

Second, that a surau bilal in Penang, Sapno Tukijo has been applying for permanent residency in Malaysia for some 23 years without success.

I suppose this contrast is quite a microcosm of the Malaysia we seem to find ourselves in today.

Zamihan shot to fame for vociferously defending the owner of a launderette in Johor who wanted to open his facilities to Muslims only.

The Sultan of Johor took strong exception to Zamihan’s views, as did the Sultan of Selangor, who barred him from preaching in Selangor.

As it happens, Zamihan also commented directly on Sapno’s famous decision as bilal of the Taman Free School surau to grant refuge to victims of the recent Penang floods in said surau.

Zamihan stated that the floods could not be categorised as an emergency situation, that other avenues existed for the victims, and that the surau authorities should have reminded those taking refuge in the surau to observe proper courtesies and guidelines.

Compassion before dogmatism

One could be forgiven for thinking that the deaths of seven people and the displacement of thousands more would indeed qualify the use of the term “emergency”.

Sapno testified that the victims did indeed seek refuge in other places, a nearby temple in particular, but were unable to reach it due to strong currents.

As for courtesies, is it our belief that the shirtless man was purposely without a shirt to offend the surau?...

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