The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) applauded today the education minister’s recent remarks on guarding against national schools from becoming “too Islamic”.
The umbrella body representing over 90 per cent of Christians nationwide said national schools should not be dominated by a single religion and reflect the country’s “secular constitutional character”.
“Let us continue to ensure that our national schools remain schools for all Malaysians rather than a school system that is entirely dominated by one religion often to the detriment of others,” it said in a statement.
Such a move to prevent dominance by any religion in schools will restore confidence in public schools and spur more parents to enrol their children in local institutions rather than in international or private schools as the trend seems to be of late, it added.
CFM said keeping schools free of domination by one religion would further help focus on national integrity and harmony among the student population.
“Such a goal is most necessary in these times as all Malaysians have to collaborate to combat sectarian strife and militant fundamentalism. This would then restore confidence in our national schools and perhaps see the return of many children who have fled to private or international schools for want of a better choice,” it said.
CFM was responding to Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid’s reported remarks last Tuesday that the federal government will not allow national schools to be “too Islamic”.
On August 9, news portal Free Malaysia Today reported Mahdzir as saying that Malaysia is a modern Muslim nation and would not see national schools becoming “too Islamic”, without elaborating on its definition.
The minister had been asked if national schools were becoming too Islamic, supposedly mentioned by a former member of the National Education Advisory Council Prof Teo Kok Seong.
The academic reportedly cited research by the National Education Advisory Council showing non-Muslim parents were uncomfortable with the level of religiosity in national schools, such as Islamic recitations during school assemblies.
The Malay Mail Online