As a means to treat and rehabilitate the mentally-ill during the unrelenting pandemic that has caused many Malaysians to spiral into depression, Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) is rolling out 160 officers in hospitals across the country to provide psychospiritual treatment, guidance and ilaj syarie (an Islamic treatment).
Minister in the PM’s office for religious affairs, Zulkifli Mohd Al-Bakri said that these officers will also be extended to agencies under KKM.
In a Facebook post, the minister stated that this initiative will handle the spiritual problems and depression amongst patients as well as medical practitioners during Covid-19.
This step comes alongside the MyCareCOV19 initiative, also kickstarted by JAKIM, in April 2020 where portals for advice were provided for the community who needs help overcoming stress and depression throughout MCO.
Upon hearing the news, netizens began questioning how these “psychospiritual” treatments will help those who are mentally-ill. They also highlighted the ilaj syarie, which is an Islamic treatment, thus alienating patients who are not subscribed to that faith.
After the still fresh debacle where JAKIM posted religious quotes to hinder criticism towards the royals, it’s understandable how the organisation does not have full trust from the public just yet.
Many believe that licensed psychotherapists, counsellors and doctors should be assigned to this task, not a religious organisation.
With that, Dr. Zulkifli has come to the initiative’s defence by saying the officers they are sending out are actual experts who are knowledgable in this field.
It is also important to note that MyCareCOV19 provides assistance to both Muslims and non-Muslims.