Mission Schools Head Requests Dialogue with Education Minister

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The Federation of Christian Mission Schools in Malaysia (FCMSM) broke its silence over the “Christian prayer” allegation in a Penang mission school, saying it wants to clear the air over the incident and seeking a meeting with the education minister.

In a statement today, group chairman Moey Yoke Lai said the federation is shocked and deeply concerned over the confusion and controversy that arose from a prize-giving ceremony at Methodist Girls’ School.

The school came into the spotlight when a police report was lodged by a local man, Muhsin Abdul Latheef, 35, last Friday, claiming that Christian prayers were held during the event.

In his report, Muhsin accused the school of attempting to proselytise Muslim pupils there, adding there were 347 Muslim pupils and only 161 non-Muslims.

He also said there were 26 Muslim teachers and 14 non-Muslim ones.

Moey, however, said the event had been carried out smoothly, peacefully and concluded without any incident.

There was no mention by the group if a “Christian prayer” was recited at the event.

“The board of managers and the school were acting in compliance with the character, ethos and tradition of mission schools. In its 128 years of history, the school has never promoted disunity.

“It has constantly taught the values of peace, love and harmony for the common good,” said Moey.

Muslim groups, however, have been offended by last Friday’s incident, saying it was unacceptable to have Christian prayers recited at a school event.

Several Muslim parents have threatened to pull their children out of school.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy said yesterday the offending passage read out at the event was nothing more than a speech on unity.

“On that day, there had been no prayers at all. What they had was only a speech on unity which the school administration and board had planned,” he said.

FCMSM said they were waiting for the outcome of the police investigation.

“While awaiting the outcome, FCMSM desires to clear the air by having a dialogue with the minister of education,” Moey said in the statement.

The FCMSM consists of 25 mission authorities which run 429 schools in Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia. – TMI