No party has a monopoly on religion, says Pakatan Seri Setia candidate

NUR LELA ZULKIPLI

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) Seri Setia by-election candidate, Halimey Abu Bakar, believes that the ability to champion and empower Islam in Malaysia isn’t the sole right of any one party.

PH, he said, is also capable of empowering Islamic interests, thus making the party’s struggles a holistic one for all sections of society.

Halimey said it would not be fair for some quarters to claim that they are the only ones qualified enough to speak about Islam, including during the by-election’s campaigning period.

“They (the opposition) must understand that the side with more authority on the subject is the government, which was chosen by the people to handle all matters including those pertaining to religion.

“PH has never once sidelined the importance of Islam and instead, the government has undertaken various positive steps for this purpose.

“For example, the monthly allowances for teachers of Al-Quran and Fardu Ain classes (KAFA) have been increased to RM1,500. The maintenance allocations for KAFA schools were also maintained, in line with each school’s individual needs,” he told a press conference here on Friday.

Halimey said PH remains focused on its aim to serve the people and religion.

“PH, via state governments, proved this by providing large allocations towards welfare efforts via numerous continuing projects and programmes.

“For example, since 2015 to now, the Selangor government under PH built 25 new mosques throughout Selangor and allocated RM208.8 million to the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) for construction and maintenance of mosques in the state.

“Not to mention the RM16 million allocated for the state government to build three tahfiz schools and RM25 million towards building two Maahad Integrasi Tahfiz Sains (MITS) in Pandan and Bagan Lalang,” he said.

Meanwhile, Halimey also planned to establish ‘Rumah Ngaji’ (Quran reading classes) in all flats within the Seri Setia constituency in order to encourage the habit of Quran reading.

“Programmes whose effectiveness are proven, such as food banks carried out by some mosques, will also be expanded to the whole constituency,” he said.

The Seri Setia by-election on Sept 8 will see Halimey take on Pas candidate Dr Halimah Ali.

The Seri Setia seat fell vacant after its incumbent, Prof Dr Shaharuddin Badaruddin, died of cancer on Aug 2. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd