KLUANG (May 20): The Ministry of Education (MoE) has rejected the Malaysian Youth Council (MBM)’s proposal that a special subject to learn about other religions, apart from the Islamic studies, should be introduced in schools and higher education institutions.
Its Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said he was consistent with the ministry’s previous suggestion that every school and university should organize more cross-cultural programmes.
He said sharing each other’s culture was more appropriate than learning other religions, as it was feared would cause more negative than positive effects.
“Recently when I was in Penang, I have seen a national type Tamil school (SJKT) was collaborating with a national religious secondary school (SMKA) and in Johor, we have the Hidayah Islamic School (SIH) that is very active in organizing activities with other vernacular schools.
“Hence, we encourage these different schools to organise this cross-cultural programmes and usually these activities are more into celebrations, costumes and if possible, we should go further than that to understand each other’s culture,” he said.
Maszlee, MP for Simpang Renggam, said this in a press conference after presenting the Hope Home assistance programme plaque at Kampung Parit Haji Hashim here on Sunday (May 19).
He also pointed out the most important thing was for each student to appreciate interaction with each other through various co-curricular activities to strengthen unity, instead of studying other religions.
Yesterday, MBM president Jufitri Joha was reported to have said that the Islamic studies currently being taught in schools was good, but it only focused on one religion, without understanding other religions.
He said his proposal did not mean that the country would practice religious equality, but learning about various religions would “foster unity and promote religious sensitivity for cultures different from our own”. — Bernama