Malaysia's culture and tourism minister questions need to demolish place of worship

Striking a pose: Nazri posing for a photo after launching Red Carpet, i-City's wax museum in Klang. Looking on is Bukit Lanjan state assemblyman Elizabeth Wong (centre) and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok.

SHAH ALAM - Culture and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abd Aziz has called on Malaysians to move on from the Johor surau issue, questioning the need to demolish the place of worship.

"I am not an expert on Islam but I think this is something which we have solved. Apa yang tak elok sangat nak roboh? (What is so bad that it needs to be demolished?)

"There is already an apology from the Buddhist council, so let's move on," he said after launching i-City Red Carpet here yesterday. "We are humans. The thing has been resolved, apa nak roboh? (What's to demolish?)"

His Cabinet colleague, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, meanwhile, said the permanent resident status of the resort owner, who was remanded for allowing a group of Buddhists to use the surau to meditate, could be revoked.

He told Utusan Online today that the 45-year-old Singaporean could be stripped of his PR status once the investigation had been completed.

The resort manager is being investigated for defiling a place of worship with intent to insult Islam.

The case received wide media coverage after an 85-second video clip of Buddhists engaged in a religious ceremony at the surau went viral on YouTube.

In a related development, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said whether or not the surau would be demolished would be decided by Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.

He said the state government and the state Islamic Religious Department had advised the Sultan on the issue.

"We will abide by the Sultan's decision," he said.

Mohamed Khaled said a place of worship for Muslims should never be allowed to be used by people of other faiths to conduct their religious rituals.

"If Tuanku wants us to demolish the surau, we will proceed with the decree," he added.