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SHAH ALAM: The Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah today decreed the people in the state, especially political leaders, to immediately stop issuing fatwas irresponsibly to preserve unity in the country.

The Sultan said he is giving this reminder, which should not be seen as siding with any political party or group because he does not want to see the people divided by the actions of some irresponsible political leaders.

“In fact, I chose to issue this statement after the state elections and by-elections were over to avoid my statement being misunderstood as favouring a political group.

“I urge that religion not be used as a tool to gain support because the people will become victims of the arguments by politicians who use religion for their own benefit,“ said the Selangor Sultan in a statement issued by Istana Alam Shah, Klang, near here today.

According to Sultan Sharafuddin, a fatwa (edict) can only be issued by the State Fatwa Committee or Mufti with the consent of the ruler in each state, apart from the National Muzakarah Committee under the National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI) which is also responsible for issuing legal opinions after discussions with the state muftis and with the consent of the Conference of Rulers.

He said a fatwa is issued not solely based on the individual views of a Mufti, but by consensus of the majority of members either in the National Muzakarah Committee or the State Fatwa Committee which consists of religious scholars and those who are experts in their respective fields.

“This is to ensure that the fatwa issued is accurate and brings good to Muslims and all the people,“ said the Sultan.

Sultan Sharafuddin said that as the Chairman of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs, he took the initiative to issue this statement to advise all parties, especially politicians, to think of measures to harmonise and unite the people.

This is because they (politicians) have many followers, who if given a wrong and inaccurate message, will result in division in society, he added.

According to the Sultan, there have been calls for immediate action to be taken to deal with issues that have given rise to the seeds of division and split in the society.

“Following that, there are groups that have requested that the Malay Rulers act to intervene through any legal means to protect peace and security for the well-being of the people,“ he said.

Sultan Sharafuddin also called on the police to take proactive action in investigating and taking action against those who raise sensitive issues involving religion, race and the position of the Malay Rulers.

“I wish to emphasise here that the Malay Rulers and the Conference of Rulers have a role in preserving the rights of the Malays and the Islamic religion.

”Apart from that, the Malay Rulers are also responsible for guaranteeing the rights and safety of the other races that make up the Malaysian people,“ said the Sultan.

Sultan Sharafuddin said the people, as well as political leaders, need not worry about the preservation of the rights of their respective races and the religion practised by each race in this country because the laws of the country, especially the Federal Constitution, provided rights for all races and religions to every Malaysian.

As for the Malay Rulers, their role is protecting and guaranteeing that all the rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution are always preserved, he added.

The Sultan of Selangor said the country would be backwards in all aspects of life if political leaders tended to foster racial polarisation and ignite ill feelings among the people in the name of race and religion.

He said extreme polarisation could give rise to elements of radicalism and extremism in society that can threaten national security.

“Leaders and politicians should inculcate a high spirit of unity in the lives of various races because all races in this country play an important role in the country’s cultural and economic development.

“Any rifts and differences between the races and religions should be addressed with efforts to organise various programmes to bridge the gap to avoid any pre-existing prejudices,“ he said.

The Sultan of Selangor said the young generation as heirs to the nation should be instilled with the spirit of being tolerant and understanding the culture and religion of the various races in the country. -Bernama