Maszlee’s ‘medan dakwah’ statement inappropriate, says MP

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KUCHING, Dec 20: The ‘medan dakwah’ statement by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik may not be appropriate, especially for Sarawak and Sabah, as this may rile up sensitivities among the people.

“This issue has been there for the past 10 to 15 years, especially in Sabah and Sarawak. So when he (Maszlee) mentioned that in order to convince the (peninsula religious) teachers to stay, he treated the words “medan dakwah” (to be) like a mission for the teachers to stay in the school,” Dr Yii reckoned.

When answering a question in Parliament recently, Maszlee appealed to religious teachers from Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah to continue serving in Sabah and Sarawak rather than seeking a return to Peninsular Malaysia due to a critical shortage of religious teachers, especially in the state.

He said Sabah and Sarawak would be their “medan dakwah” (Islamic propagation front) and “medan menabur bakti” (place to sow good deeds).

Meanwhile, Dr Yii said after contacting Deputy Education Minister Teo Ni Ching, he was told that 319 national schools (Sekolah Kebangsaan) in Sarawak currently lacked Islamic religious teachers.

He said based on the ratio or policy of the Ministry of Education, which was set by the previous administration, technically, as long there is a Muslim student in a school, it would need one teacher for the whole school.

“I do not want to comment on the current policy, but I think we need to focus on the issue itself, which is the lack of religious teachers in Sabah and Sarawak. I understand the sensitivity of this issue, that’s why I actually want to echo those statements that religious teachers should focus on just teaching the subject and not go beyond in terms of perception of conversion or influencing students with a different religion. This goes not just for religious teachers but every teacher and every civil servant,” said Dr Yii.

On Dec 18, Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) expressed alarm over Maszlee’s stand, prompting it to call on the federal government to stop using public servants or teachers to carry out any form of Islamisation in Sabah and Sarawak.

Movement for Change Sarawak (MoCS) followed that up by describing Maszlee as being “unfit to be a minister”.

Yesterday (Dec 19), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Women vice-president Voon Shiak Ni chided Maszlee for making a statement that does not go down well with Sarawakians and advised him to retract it immediately. — DayakDaily