KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27, 2015

Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has asked the reason behind the Islamic Development Department’s (Jakim) need for an RM1 billion budget.

“I am curious to know — if it is true — why do they need a RM1 billion budget? Does it include allocations to all the states? During my next Conference of Rulers, I want them to show me their breakdown for expenses.

“I want to know if they are financing our religious schools here (in Johor).” he was reported to have told The Star Online in an exclusive interview published today.

Sultan Ibrahim said Jakim reports to the Conference of Rulers and they usually advised the Federal Government.

The Ruler was asked on the role of the Rulers as the custodians of Islam, given recent debate that some federal religious agencies appear to exert influence and authority onto this religious space.

“We are the heads of religion in our own states. The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) can give advice or propose guidelines but it is up to us (Sultans) whether we want to accept it.

“I have appointed a panel in the Johor Islamic Council. They come up with fatwas (decrees) for me to approve it. The fatwa cannot be effective without my approval. Sometimes I do question a fatwa and I want them to explain it, but Jakim has no right to interfere in the state.”

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