GEORGE TOWN: The People’s Alternative Party (PAP) today questioned the hiring of an Islamic affairs officer by the Penang state government to counter any Islam-related issues raised in the state.
Wan Ji Wan Husin, 35, was yesterday sworn in as the new information officer appointed under Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s office.
PAP vice-president Rahmad Isahak described Wan Ji’s appointment as a form of doubting the capability of available and capable Malays from Penang and within Pakatan Harapan in explaining Islamic-related issues to some 640,000 Muslims in Penang.
While not blaming Wan Ji over his appointment, Rahmad said he should have first considered that local Muslims from Penang are more well-versed with issues concerning Islam in the state to helm his position.
“He shouldn’t have agreed to accept the position due to political pressure and should have questioned whether he is qualified to hold the post as there are many more who are more senior and more qualified to talk on Islamic matters from Penang than he (Wan Ji).
“The state government should not have ‘imported’ an outsider as they are still many young Muslim scholars around from Penang, even if they wanted someone with political knowledge and background and those are the people that should have been given the priority.
“That speaks volumes on the level of distrust the chief minister has for well-learned Muslim Malay leaders from Penang especially within their own Penang Pakatan Harapan circle.
“Does it mean there is not even one person from either Penang PKR, PAN and PPBM who is qualified to speak on matters related to Islam in the state?” asked Rahmad in a statement here today.
He reminded the DAP-led Penang state government not to be overly confident in garnering Malay support without the assistance from Pas and instead turned to a freelance Islamist preacher from PKR who is not even local to Penang.
“The irony of this whole thing is Penang is led by a chief minister who is Johor born who hired a non-Penangite Muslim preacher to defend the image of the state government.
“Where then is the voice of the state religious affairs exco from PKR on this issue which clearly reflects failure to guard the image and rights of Muslim scholars in Penang.
“They are spineless- as long as anyone from PKR is appointed it will silent them despite realising that the position of the Malays is getting more compromised to fulfill the demands from the ‘power’ of the majority which has 19 state assembly seats in the State Assembly,” added Rahmad.
It was announced at a press conference yesterday that Wan Ji,from Kelantan, will assist Penang chief minister strategic adviser Datuk Saifuddin Nasution to explain the state government’s policies to the people.
The 35-year-old took his oath as the information officer at Lim’s office in Komtar yesterday.
Wan Ji has a Bachelor of Arts in Syariah Islamiyyah from Al-Azhar University, Damanhur in Egypt. He has a Masters in Maqasid Syariah.
He is currently pursuing a doctorate’s degree in Maqasid Syariah at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan.