In meet with celebrity preachers, minister Zulkifli urges for pro-Covid vaccine messaging

Danial Dzulkifly
·2-min read
Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad delivers his speech during a meeting with celebrity preachers at the Movenpick Hotel in Sepang December 24, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad delivers his speech during a meeting with celebrity preachers at the Movenpick Hotel in Sepang December 24, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

SEPANG, Dec 24 — Minister Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad has urged Muslim televangelists and celebrity preachers today for a uniformed message on the permissible use of Covid-19 vaccines among adherents.

Speaking at a gathering with them here, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs said that the “harus” ruling on the vaccines is not solely his view, but also the opinions of many Muslims scholars and authoritative bodies worldwide.

“Such views are not solely mine, but it is the views of [Muslim] scholars and authoritative bodies, not just in Malaysia but the entire community. Top scholars have agreed in this manner.

“So, it is good if all of us, including celebrity preachers, are uniformed along with authoritative bodies, who have done detailed and thorough research on the matter,’’ he said.

Yesterday, Zulkifli had said that the Covid-19 vaccine is permissible for Muslims amid much anticipation ― and trepidation ― in Malaysia after the government signed several deals to procure millions of doses for the population.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs said the national fatwa council had met on December 3 and ruled that the Covid-19 vaccine “is harus and wajib to be taken by those designated so by the government”.

The term “harus” in Islam means permissible, while “wajib” means obligatory. However, the minister did not elaborate if anyone has been designated as obliged to take the vaccine.

On November 23, while winding his speech on the Supply Bill 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat, Zulkifli said the Covid-19 vaccine would be permissible in line with the principle of Maqasid Syariah as it concerned the protection of life.

The government has announced that it has secured Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca and is in the midst of negotiating with other manufacturers to vaccinate over 80 per cent of Malaysia’s population at an estimated cost of RM2.05 billion.

This comes following the renewed rise of a small yet vocal anti-vaccination portion in the country that is spreading falsehoods and misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccines in an attempt to sway public opinion over the matter.

On December 16, Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Ahmad Amzad Hashim said the government will monitor closely the activities of a particular group that is spreading propaganda regarding the Covid-19 vaccine through social media so as to prevent it from influencing public perception,.

He said the ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, was studying the need to create certain laws to curb the matter.

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