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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Non-Muslim school clubs can proceed, says Muhyiddin

Posted on 9:43 PM by Willie a.k.a Reptoz

BUKIT JALIL, July 24 — Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today gave his word that decades-old non-Muslim societies in schools could continue to proceed with their activities and would not face closure.

He firmly reiterated that neither the ministry nor the Education Department had ever issued any directive to schools ordering for the dissolution of non-Muslim religious clubs.

“Let me clarify. There is no directive issued by the ministry.

“There was already an old circular from before so the status now is that existing societies whether Hindu, Buddhist clubs, can continue on. Take my word for it,” he told reporters after launching the Village Entrepreneurs Carnival at the Bukit Jalil stadium here.

Muhyiddin (pic) was referring to a circular by the Selangor education department issued on December 16, 2000, which stipulated that “any school that already has an established Non-Muslim Religious Club to carry on”.

His deputy Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong had earlier clarified to the media that the circular meant that all societies formed before it was issued could continue with its activities.

Those with the intention to form new clubs however would have to obtain clearance from the department.

Muhyiddin, who is also the deputy prime minister, stressed that ministry had been clear on its stand, adding that he did not want the matter to be rekindled into a new issue.

“I have already checked with the director-general (of education).

“Only the incident happened in Selangor because new societies have to apply to register themselves.

“But the existing ones, the ones already established, can carry on. It does not become a problem,” he said.

Muhyiddin was responding to continuing complaints on the illegal closure of long-established non-Muslim religious clubs following a newspaper report earlier this month highlighting such an incident at the Klang High School.

The report claimed that the school’s administration had ordered for the dissolution of its Kelab Agama Hindu, Kelab Agama Buddha and the Christian Union, which had been in existence since 1969.

When the issue came to light, the school authorities insisted that the decision had been made by the state education department.

When responding to the matter in Parliament recently, Wee told reporters that the department had never issued such a directive and said that the two societies could proceed with their activities.

Despite this assurance, students, parents, teachers and religious representatives have continued to complain of similar incidences, claiming that the Klang case was not an isolated one.

A parent told The Malaysian Insider yesterday that the school authorities of SMK SS17 in Subang Jaya, Selangor, had ordered the Buddhist Society and Christian Fellowship to stop holding meetings and carrying out religious activities in January last year.

At a press conference in MCA yesterday, several Buddhist and Christian religious representatives, including the Young Buddhists’ Association of Malaysia (YBAM), Buddhist Association of Subang Jaya and the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), called on the Najib administration not to neglect the spiritual well-being of the non-Muslim community.

Malaysia’s reputation for religious harmony took a beating earlier this year, following attacks on several houses of worship after a court ruling allowed the Catholic Church to publish the word “Allah” outside the Muslim context.

Source: Clara Chooi, Malaysian Insider

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