11/01/2021 Malaysia (International Christian Concern) – Critics in Malaysia are upset about the government’s additional budget recently allocated to promote Islamic teachings for 2022.
According to Free Malaysia Today, in response to the provision of an extra RM100 million in a RM1.5 billion budget allocation for the management and development of Islam in next year’s budget, former UMNO (ruling political party) parliamentarian Tawfik Ismail said, “That’s too much money for them.”
He added that just like previous years, it remains unclear where all the money would end up being spent and what impact the government intended to have.
He wonders if the money will benefit just those in Jakim (the federal department of Islamic development), or will it filter out to the benefit of the whole country. He also noticed that the fund has not been used to effectively promote compassion, mercy, and tolerance. On the contrary, things have become more oppressive.
Johan Ariffin Samad, an analyst and member of the G25 group of former senior civil servants, echoes Tawfik’s concerns. “We are seeing as large a religious divide in this country as ever before, because the authorities are not doing enough to foster tolerance in this country, or improve the relationship among faiths,” he said.
He is unsure whether the religious affairs department will spend such a large budget wisely to address the real problems faced by the Muslim-majority nation.