Over RM40 mln incentives  for imams, religious teachers  


Abang Johari (centre) receives the mock cheque for RM40,432,848 from Jamil (fourth left) at the event. Also seen are Fatimah on Abang Johari’s left, Kipli (second left) and Misnu (third right). — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: A federal allocation of RM40,432,848 has been presented to the state for this year’s payment of incentives to ‘imams’ (heads of Muslim congregation) and allowances to religious teachers in Sarawak.

The category of religious teachers eligible for the allowances includes ‘guru kafa’ – teachers who handle Al-Quran and ‘fardu ain’ (individual obligations in Islam) classes; and ‘guru takmir’, who handle informal educational programmes at suraus and mosques.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom handed over the allocation to Chief Minister

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg during the state-level ‘Multaqa Mutabbi Ummah’ at Sarawak Islamic Complex along Jalan P Ramlee here yesterday.

In his remarks, Abang Johari said the mandate given to him as chief minister signified the confidence of people from different religious backgrounds in a Muslim leadership in the state.

“The Medina Charter is a good reference for me when it comes to guiding my style of leadership for the state, which consists of people of different religions. As a Muslim leader, I need to be fair to all, and the Medina Charter is a great base of reference,” he said.

Describing Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H.’s way of administrating Medina as ‘smart and bearing equality to all’, Abang Johari called upon the people to not be emotional and let petty issues cause religious tension.

On the ‘Multaqa Mutabbi Ummah’ event, Abang Johari said it was a statement of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s concern for the imams and religious teachers.

Meanwhile, Jamil said the government acknowledged the role of imams and religious teachers as they are the ones who are interacting with the Muslims.

“I  believe that Muslims and those of other religions in Malaysia can live in harmony as we understand the importance of co-existence.

“This is why we need to celebrate the differences among each other and maintain this harmonious living.” Apart from the federal grant, Jamil also presented a one-off payment of RM6,222,000 to Abang Johari, meant as incentives for the imams, ‘bilal’ or ‘muezzin’ (callers of prayers), and religious teachers in the state.

The event yesterday also saw the presentation of working papers by Sarawak Mufti Datu Kipli Yassin and Selangor Deputy Mufti Datuk Dr Anhar Opir.

Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah and Sarawak Islamic Council president Datu Misnu Taha were also present.