Mariam Mokhtar: The Minister for Education must resign or be sacked

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Malays try their best to return to the glory days of the sixth Century.

The Minister for Education must resign or be sacked. Education needs an overhaul, but the Hadith-40 route means Malays have a deeper understanding of the hadith, and non-Malays focus on STEM subjects.

‘Pendatang’ countries have launched rockets into outer space and landed on the moon, but Malays try their best to return to the glory days of the sixth Century.

Successive politicians have done Malay pupils a great disservice and this includes both prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, and the Minister of Education, Fadhlina Sidek.

Why do Malay politicians try to outdo one another by showing off their Islamic credentials?

Why are they desperate to prepare Malay children for the afterlife, instead of making them learn and understand the many challenges of life on earth in the 21st century?

On 19 August, Fadhlina said that the “Imam Al-Nawawi 40 Hadith” module would be launched in National Religious Secondary Schools (SMKA) and Government-funded Religious Schools (SABK) before its introduction to other public schools.

Both she and Anwar said that the Hadith-40 module was meant only for Muslim students.

By their short-sightedness and folly, Malay students will get a detailed, in-depth study on Islam, to help get them ready for the afterlife.

Meanwhile, non-Malay students will have a head start in STEM subjects to prepare them for the many challenges of a modern world filled with Artificial Intelligence, sustainability and the digital economy.

How will the introduction of the Hadith-40 module encourage unity among the races when these lessons are only meant for Muslims? Schools are important places to foster good relations between people of different cultures and faiths.

The Minister said that the Hadith-40 module would enable school children to understand and better appreciate the values of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings or “hadith”.

Did Fadhlina bother to ask Muslim parents if they were agreeable?

Bernama

Is Fadhlina the Minister of Education for all Malaysians, or would she be best suited to be our Minister of Religious Affairs? Is she aware of the repercussions of her decision?

Instead of promoting unity, she is encouraging division and segregation. She will advance the ‘them’ and ‘us’ culture, and further the negative effects of a ‘Muslim’ versus ‘non-Muslim’ society.

Some people want to abolish vernacular schools because they claim that these schools do not promote unity. When the Hadith-40 module is introduced, shouldn’t this same group demand the closure of our national schools for promoting division?

The minister’s expertise and training are in Islamic family law and child welfare. She alone cannot be blamed for tinkering with our system of education, so what are her advisers telling her? Are they qualified in educational matters?

The bog-standard education introduced by successive Umno-Baru governments has allowed our children to grow into ignorant young adults who lack critical thinking skills and are not encouraged to be curious.

For over three decades, schools have tried to mend the damage done to our children. The rot started when former prime minister, Dr Mahathir dumbed down Malaysian education.

Most Malaysians agree that our schools and curriculum need a complete overhaul because it is not fit for purpose.

Teachers, parents and pupils have issued numerous complaints about the educational system and Fadhlina could have chosen one of several major problems to address, but instead she chose to introduce the Hadith-40 module for our schools. Where are her priorities?

What was her motivation behind selecting the Hadith-40 module for schools? We spend an extraordinary number of hours on religious-based lessons in our schools. In comparison, how many hours are dedicated to STEM subjects, languages, creative arts, IT and DT?

Malaysia is suffering from an explosion of madrassah and tahfiz schools to produce an army of ulamas at the higher education level.

The school timetable is already full. How will the Hadith-40 module be incorporated into the school’s weekly routine? Currently insufficient time is dedicated for children to develop their imagination and creativity skills. All religious work and no play will make Johari a dull boy.

Religious indoctrination starts as soon as the Malay child enrols in kindergarten. It picks up pace during his teenage years.

Could Fadhlina be inadvertently helping her boss fulfil his other lifelong ambition? First is Anwar’s long-held desire to be prime minister, second is to Islamise Malaysia, a process he started in 1982, when Dr Mahathir plucked him from ABIM and invited him to join Umno and be part of his Cabinet.

In the 1980s, Mahathir was hell-bent on developing Malaysia but needed someone to help Islamise Umno to counter the rising PAS’ popularity.

Making our schools more Islamic goes against our secular Constitution. National schools must not be made into alternative madrassahs.

Only two groups will benefit from this latest move.

The first beneficiary is Singapore. The Red Dot will not hesitate to offer world-class opportunities to the best and most talented Malaysian students. Why should we allow this loss to continue?

Second is PN and PAS. The non-Malays and so-called liberal Malays who support Anwar because they are afraid of the Green Wave are too self-absorbed in their fear that they may not realise that making our national schools more religious is helping the Green Wave reach its peak sooner rather than later.

It is the duty of every parent to ask Fadlina if she has the interests of parents and teachers at heart, or is she simply obeying orders from the top? Is she part of Anwar’s plan to islamicise the nation, by working on our schools?

Major changes to repair our decrepit education system are required. The quota system, indiscipline, children dropouts, poor teaching standards, racism and extremism in schools are major issues. Why didn’t she choose any of this?

Malaysian parents suffer from election or political fatigue, but their children fall ill from religious fatigue.

Despite the many hours spent on religion for Malay/Malaysian children in our schools, the authorities have failed to get rid of incest in Malay families, unwanted pregnancies in Malay teenagers, high incidence of drug taking in Malay youths, high divorce rates, huge families and child marriages.

Fadlina lacks leadership and courage in fixing our education. She should resign or be sacked. – Mariam Mokhtar