GEORGE TOWN, Oct 15 — A PAS assemblyman has called on the local authorities to take action against non-Muslim places of worship (RIBI) that were built without permits.
Yusni Mat Piah (PAS – Penaga) referred to a written reply by state exco Chong Eng (DAP – Padang Lallang) that stated there were 69 RIBI that were built without permits.
“These are RIBI haram and I feel that the authorities should look into this issue seriously,” he said when debating the Supply Bill at the legislative assembly today.
Gooi Zi Sen (DAP – Pengkalan Kota) then asked that the word haram not be used to refer to RIBI.
State assembly Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang agreed and told Yusni to retract the term haram and suggested that he use the term “built without permits”.
Yusni explained that he did not mean to insult any religion and stressed that all places of worship, regardless of religion, should be respected.
“I was only referring to the written reply which also used the term haram so I was only reading out from the reply,” he said.
He went on to say that there were 69 RIBI that were built without permits in the state and this issue affected all districts.
He said he was only raising this issue because there were complaints about these RIBI and that the authorities should take these complaints seriously.
“I am not asking for enforcement action to be taken against these places immediately or tomorrow, what I am saying is for the authorities to look into it seriously,” he said.
He said he would be among the first ones to defend the RIBI without permits if the authorities were to demolish these without proper notification.
“Even in Islam, there have been cases of surau or mosques that were built without permits and similarly, action should also be taken,” he said.
He said among the action that can be taken to resolve the issue was to assist the RIBI to obtain the necessary approvals or to ensure they adhere to the local bylaws.