PETALING JAYA – Moderation advocate Tawfik Ismail has proposed that the government send Zamihan Mat Zin to one of China’s Muslim regions so he can learn to understand the Chinese better.
“Let him feel the bitterness of a Chinese winter to understand why people don’t bathe daily but remain clean,” he said.
Tawfik was reacting to Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s defence of the preacher, who created a stir last month when he criticised the Sultan of Johor for rebuking the operator of a Muslim-only laundrette in Muar.
Zamihan also made derogatory remarks about the hygiene of Chinese Malaysians.
Zahid recently described the controversial preacher as an expert in the rehabilitation of terrorists or potential terrorists. “He is an asset when it comes to rehabilitating the faith of those who have gone astray,” he said.
Speaking to FMT, Tawfik accused the government of “blindly” supporting Zamihan.
“My response to Zahid’s endorsement of Zamihan is that the government should send guys like him to Muslim China for a year to experience life as a Chinese Muslim,” he said.
Maszlee Malik, a member of Institut Darul Ehsan’s Community Unity Research Centre, also criticised Zahid for his endorsement of Zamihan, saying it had no value without the testimonies of experts.
He said it was crucial that a third party evaluate the effectiveness of the rehab programmes conducted by Zamihan.
“Third party experts like the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) and Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (Seacat) or any researcher in the field must get involved,” he told FMT.
“We are dealing with the nation’s future and with efforts that have been funded by taxpayers’ money. People like Zamihan must be accountable and transparent.”
Maszlee, who teaches at the International Islamic University, also said the non-Muslim leaders of Barisan Nasional should have their say in the matter as well.