LAST_UPDATEThu, 21 Jun 2018 10pm

Zamihan An Asset, Ahmad Zahid Says In Defending Controversial Preacher

Pic: theSunPic: theSun

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today defended controversial preacher Zami­han Mat Zin's role in rehabilitating and deradicalising detained militants in the country, describing him as an "asset".

The deputy prime minister said Zamihan's expertise in deradicalisation is valuable to the government, pointing out that the latter has a proven track record in restoring the faith (akidah) of extremists since being transferred to the Prisons Department.

The Home Minister was responding to a statement by lawyer and PKR central committee member Latheefa Koya earlier that Zamihan's involvement in the ministry's rehabilitation programme was of great concern.

She said it was shocking that despite Zamihan having had his preaching credentials revoked by the Selangor ruler, he was still "given access to the most extremist of people, that is Islamic State (IS) militants".

Zamihan had on Tuesday posted a picture on his Facebook page showing him at the Tapah Prison in Perak, with a caption explaining that he had a four-hour session with the IS detainees there.

The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) officer was previously placed under the Home Ministry in charge of overseeing and checking religious publications in the country.

"From records I obtained, his success rate in restoring their (detained militants) faith has been quite high.

"Meaning he is an asset, not only in faith restoration, but also in bringing these groups of people back to the right track.

"I don't think he should be penalised with (the removal of) his position in the Prisons Department," he said after attending the 2017 Huawei Asia-Pacific Innovation Day, here, today.

Ahmad Zahid also pointed out that Zamihan is among one of the individuals to provide their expertise in a manual published by the Home Ministry, that has since also been translated to English, Arabic and French.

The preacher made headlines early last month after he gave a lecture at a mosque in Shah Alam criticising the Johor Sultan for disallowing a Muslim-friendly launderette in the state. The officer also labelled Chinese as "unhygienic".

- theSun