Matters of opinion that enables me to understand or make some sense of my country- Malaysia

An open letter seeking help from JAKIM

AUGUST 09, 2013

Zan Azlee


Zan Azlee is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, New Media practitioner and lecturer. He runs Fat Bidin Media



First and foremost, I would like to wish you assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh and a blessed Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. I would like to apologise for writing this letter during the festive season when most of you would be on leave with your families.

However, I strongly believe that the reason that I am writing is justified and commands your immediate attention. If nothing is done, I am fearful that the faith and aqidah of many Malay Muslims in Malaysia may be at risk.

On the second last day of Ramadhan, my family and I decided to head out and enjoy iftar (I loathe using the term ‘buka puasa’ it is so un-Islamic!) together at a very prominent hotel in Shah Alam, Selangor. The hotel is called Concorde.

We were very impressed with the buffet spread that was on display in the hotel’s coffee house and felt that the extremely expensive price was justified. So, in other words, we were happy to have good food and good company that evening.

However, as I was walking around the different food islands in the centre of the coffee house, I came to the dessert island. And what I saw horrified me to my wits end! I could not believe my eyes! There in open display was a plate full of tapai!

Now correct me if I’m wrong. JAKIM has issued a statement declaring that for any dish or drink to be considered halal, it needs to have less than 0.01% alcohol content. This practically means that there has to be zero alcohol content.

Tapai, as we all know, is a traditional Malay kuih that is prepared by fermenting pulut or ubi kayu. But, as we all also know, when you ferment food stuff, it turns into alcohol. Yes! I said alcohol! Haram jaddah!

Now I did not taste nor test the tapai that was on offer in Concorde Hotel’s iftar buffet spread. One, because I did not want to contaminate myself with haram food, and two, because I did not have the expertise or tools to conduct a test for alcohol content.

With that being said, it is common knowledge that the tapai prepared by the Malay Muslim community in Malaysia has been known to contain as much as 5% alcohol. That is insane! Even beer only has between 2% to 3% of alcohol content.

As we are now already on the topic of alcohol content and it being haram, I would also like to bring JAKIM’s attention to the east coast of Semenanjung Malaysia. Over there, the Malay Muslim community is known to indulge in air nira.

You can go anywhere in the states of Terengganu and Kelantan, be it in the big towns or the small villages, and you can find stalls and restaurants selling this popular drink made out of coconut. Unfortunately, it also goes through the fermentation process, and that means alcohol! Haram jaddah!

People there are proud of the fact that when they drink their local traditional drink, they can even get to a stage they like to call ‘pening-pening’. This is atrocious! The Malay Muslims in the east coast of Semenanjung Malaysia are regularly getting drunk!

So, I hereby call on JAKIM to take action to protect Malaysia’s Malay Muslim community from having their Islamic faith threatened. No! In fact, I demand that JAKIM take action on this matter immediately!

I see no other body or organisation in this country that has the authority and has upheld and protected the interest of Malay Muslims more than JAKIM. Oh wait! Actually PERKASA and UMNO have also been at the forefront of protecting the community’s interest.

So please, JAKIM, PERKASA and UMNO. I beg of you to bring our Malay Muslim brothers and sisters to salvation. We absolutely cannot, as responsible Malay Muslims ourselves, allow them to burn in hell fire as we sit comfortably in beautiful heaven.

Thank you and wassalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.







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