The government has revoked the permanent residency (PR) of the owner of a resort in Sedili Besar, Kota Tinggi, who recently courted controversy by loaning a surau to Buddhists.
NONEHome Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said his ministry made the decision after the National Registration Department (NRD) probed the 45-year-old Singaporean’s PR status.
“(The decision) is because the PR status is given as a benefit, and not as a privilege,” said the minister.
He was speaking at a press conference after an open house event in Kuala Lumpur this morning.Zahid said the government had the right to do so on individuals who acted outside the law, especially involving the sanctity of Islam.
"I hope those holding permanent resident status in the country will use this issue as a lesson and not misuse the facilities given, via, the generosity of the Malaysian government.
"The man (resort owner) was not sensitive to Muslims in Malaysia as a whole, and in fact, had disparaged Islam as the official religion of this nation," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
The minister said followers of Buddhism who had used the surau had initially sought permission to use a hall at the resort.
"Unfortunately, the hall had been booked and the resort owner allowed them to use the surau. By right, as a Muslim, he should have been aware of the consequences of his action.
"The stringent action was taken because it touched on religious sensitivities... that is all. A similar action, too, will be taken if othe rreligions are insulted," he added.
'Allah only for Muslims' 
The owner was drawn into controversy when a YouTube video of his surau was uploaded with the title 'Chinese Buddhists pray in surau; Surau becomes temple' and captioned, ‘Surau tainted by heresy’.
NONEThe owner, who explained he had offered the surau for his Buddhist guests to meditate as his other facilities were occupied, was subsequently remanded while the authorities probed the matter.
Zahid said the PR revocation will take immediate effect. “Yes, with immediate effect. We have informed the owner while he was in the lock-up. He is the only one who is affected - his family (will not) as they have not done any wrong,” he said.
The revocation of the PR status means that the man, who has a family, is no longer allowed to work or own commercial assets in the country, and must get a work permit or have a Malaysian partner.
On another matter, the minister also called on all Muslims to stand firm against non-Muslims' use of the word ‘Allah’, on which the government’s appeal will be decided on Aug 22.
“I am not pre-empting the court decision. But it is important that the use of ‘Allah’ is defended.
“The word ‘Allah’ can and must only be used in Islam alone. Period!” he said.The government is appealing a 2009 court ruling lifting the Home Ministry's ban on the use of 'Allah' in the Malay bible.
Catholic Archbishop Murphy Pakiam has questioned the government’s insistence on the appeal, arguing that Prime Minister Najib Razak signed a 10 point solution in 2011 allowing its use.