Education Minister Hishamuddin Hussein must clarify issues relating
to J-QAF before school reopens on 3 January 2005
by Ronnie Liu
parents who have kids studying in Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Puteri, Cheras,
Selangor were required to buy Arabic Language textbooks and workbooks as
they were told by the headmistress that this subject was compulsory for
their Standard One children under the new J-QAF scheme.
Madam Indra brought the case to the DAP yesterday. Her nephew was enrolled
with the school and her sister was asked to buy one textbook and one
workbook on Arabic Language last Friday. The headmistress of Sek Keb Taman
Puteri insists that she was merely following the directive of state
education department. She also refused to allow non-Muslim kids to study
their mother tongue language simply because the school do not have
any Tamil or Mandarin language teachers.
There are two big questions need to be answered by the Minister of Education
Datuk Hishamuddin Hussein: one, is Arabic Language a compulsory subject for
non-Muslim students beginning from 2005, and two, there seems to be no
efforts to recruit sufficient Tamil and Chinese language teachers on the
part of the school and the ministry of education.
When Hishamuddin first spoke about J-QAF (as a pilot project for 30 selected
schools) on 24 April 2004 in Kuala Terengganu, he has explained that Arabic
Language and other Islamic subjects were meant for the Muslim students under
the so-called Islam Hadhari policy; he also specifically said that Arabic
Language will only be offered as an optional subject for the non-Muslim
He should now immediately investigate the matter and clarify the issue
before all schools reopen on 3 January 2005.
He must also direct his ministry to recruit sufficient Tamil and Chinese
Language teachers for the POL subject. There is no two ways about it.
As a minister of education, he should know the sensitivity of the matter and
fully aware that such Islamisation policy would only drive away non-Muslim
students from national primary schools.
Note: J-QAF=Jawi, Al Quran, Arabic Language and Fardhu Ain (obligatory
practices for Muslims)
* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP International Secretary and NGO