KUALA LUMPUR — A leader from the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno) on Thursday (Oct 12) claimed the opposition ruled state of Selangor has neglected the welfare of its Islamic Religious Department (Jais) employees by allowing budget cuts.
Selangor Umno information chief Zein Isma Ismail said the administration of Chief Minister Azmin Ali had come up with several regulations, including slashing of allowances and no overtime payment for Jais staff.
In lieu of overtime, Jais staff was given an additional day of leave instead.
“This has caused anxiety among Jais employees. I’ve personally heard their complaints. The staff are upset with the state government’s act of cutting allocations from the religious office, making it difficult for them to carry out their duties,” said Mr Zein.
“They no longer get paid for overtime work, especially enforcement officers who work until late at night to combat immoral activities. Instead, they are given extra leave.”
When contacted, Jais director Haris Kasim said: “That’s a political issue. No comment.”
This is the latest attempt by Umno to challenge Mr Azmin on matters related to Islam.
Umno leaders had previously urged Mr Azmin to make a stand on alcohol-related festivals in Selangor.
The Chief Minister made his stance earlier this month when he said his administration has never opposed any alcohol-related festivals in the state as long they comply with local regulations.
Mr Zein Isma on Thursday said what was more worrying is when “political power stand in the way of religious implementation”, claiming that several fatwas by the state mufti were not in line with Mr Azmin’s policy and administrative principles.
He also urged Muslims in Selangor to look back at Mr Azmin’s track record since he helmed the state to see if he had championed the interest of the community.
“This is why I am urging the Malays and Muslims to wake up. They need to realise that they are in fact being ruled by DAP,” he said in using the acronym of Chinese-majority opposition Democratic Action Party.
The DAP is part of the opposition Pakatan Harapan pact, of which Mr Azmin’s party — Parti Keadilan Rakyat — is also a coalition partner.
Since last year, Umno has increasingly played up the racial and religious cards as it sought to remain in power with the looming election.
Umno leaders, including Prime Minister Najib Razak have repeatedly warned members that the special position and rights of the Malays in the country would be eroded if the DAP came to power. NEW STRAITS TIMES