Ministry urged to apologise for ‘over-reacting’ to claims against Penang school.
The Education Ministry is overreacting in its warning to the Penang Methodist Girls School for allegedly reciting a Christian prayer at a school event, civil society activist K Sudhagaran Stanley said.
The Penang-based activist told Malaysiakini that Education director-general Amin Senin’s warning to the school based on a police report was “disrespect and a threat” to religious freedom in Malaysia.
The activist, who is the Penang coordinator for the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), said the ministry should not allow itself to be used by “extremist or fanatical Muslim groups”.
“Amin should issue a public apology for over-reacting on the matter…(while) Education Minister Maszlee Malik (should) intervene and ensure his officers uphold the spirit of the new Malaysia,” Stanley was quoted as saying.
“These sorts of issues should not be happening under the new government,” stressed the activist, who is also co-founder of a school for refugee children in Butterworth.
Amin two days ago said the ministry was considering taking disciplinary action against the school administrators for flouting protocol disseminated in a 2016 circular.
His statement followed news that a man claiming to represent Penang Muslim groups had filed a police report accusing the school of attempting to proselytise to its Muslim pupils through the recitation of a Christian prayer at an awards ceremony.
Police are probing the incident following the report.
Stanley queried if there was anything wrong in reciting a Christian prayer during the awards ceremony.
“If reciting a Christian prayer is wrong, then reciting any Muslim prayer or doa is wrong too,” he opined.
He noted that the school in question is a Christian school founded on Christian values.
“Respect their boundaries. The said school and other missionary schools in this country have contributed tremendously to the education sector, even before Merdeka,” Stanley said.
“Hundreds of thousands of successful people, including doctors, lawyers, engineers and politicians were created from such schools.”
Stanley reminded the Education Ministry that it should pay attention to Islamic preachers who are targeting non-Muslim students.
He said the real problem is when Muslim preachers are allowed to come into schools to conduct “subtle preaching” to non-Muslim students under the pretext of motivational talk.
“This is the real issue and the concern of many parents.
“Our schools are being turned into propagating grounds and the aim of these people is to convert,” Stanley claimed.
“This, we should object and prevent from taking place! I hope the Education DG will act on this.”