by LEE SHI-IAN
Zamihan Mat Zain Al-Ghari, assistant secretary of the Home Ministry's internal security and public order division, issued a statement yesterday evening denying the allegations made against him by Shahidan.
"I have never linked PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, Shahidan, former Perlis mufit Datuk Dr Asri Zainul Abidin and current Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Juanda Jaya to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
"Shahidan's allegations against me are a complete fabrication and I am ready to face him to prove my innocence," Zamihan said.
Shahidan, in an interview with The Malaysian Insider, said that Zamihan had once linked Abdul Hadi, Asri, Juanda and himself with Wahhabi teachings and Islamic militant group JI.
The former Perlis Menteri Besar ticked off Zamihan for involving the Wahhabi in Putrajaya's crackdown on Shia followers in Malaysia.
Shahidan said that Wahhabi was not a sect because it followed Sunni teachings, which Muslims predominantly adhere to in Malaysia.
However, Zamihan said during his time with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), he had only discussed the doctrine which extremists subscribed to.
"I have never linked Abdul Hadi, Asri, Juanda or Shahidan to JI, nor did I mention that they were JI terrorists. Whatever I said during the briefing session can be rechecked as it was a recorded session."
Zamihan said in 2011, he had given a briefing to a university vice-chancellor during an event organised by the Higher Education Ministry.
Then Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Noordin was present during the briefing session, Zamihan said.
"I am certain that I have never accused any individual of following extremist teachings or being involved in terrorist activities. Shahidan's statement is clearly a provocation towards a civil servant."
Zamihan denied Shahidan's allegations that he was attempting to confuse Islamic followers about Wahhabi and had angered many Umno leaders.
"I only ask Islamic followers in Malaysia to hold true to Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah (AWSJ). This is what is commonly adopted and practiced by state religious authorities in Malaysia."
Zamihan asked why Shahidan was suddenly worried and snappy when talking about the Wahhabi, questioning whether the latter supported Wahhabi teachings.
"In Malaysia, we follow the AWSJ because the Sunni teachings are clear and Wahhabi is not suitable to be practiced here," Zamihan said.
He added that Shahidan was not the Minister who should be talking about religious issues, especially as he did not have the qualifications to do so.
"Perhaps it is better if Shahidan paid more attention to the portfolio which he has been entrusted with," Zamihan said.
Zamihan, however, indicated his willingness to hold a debate with Shahidan about the Wahhabi issue.
"Shahidan can decide the date and the venue, but the condition is that whoever loses the debate should resign from his position." - December 20, 2013