IIUM Rector should clarify the 'tudung' regulation on non-Muslim students

Press Statement
by Chong Eng

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): I have today sent a letter by way of email and fax to the Rector of International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Prof M. Kamal Hassan, seeking a clarification on the regulation implemented by the IIUM pertaining to the 'proper attire' of non-Muslim female students in the university, either in campus, or during activities of the university held outside campus.

It is most shocking to hear from the Education Ministry Parliamentary Secretary, Datuk Mahadzir Mohd Khir, in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that the non-Muslim students of IIUM are merely 'encouraged' to wear tudung and not 'forced', although the Muslims female students are 'required' to do so.

It is open knowledge to those with friends and family members studying in IIUM that one of the basic requirements for a non-Muslim student to study and continue to study in the university is to be forced to observe the unreasonable and insensitive rule of donning the tudung.

There is no argument on the free choice of Malaysians to choose their attire according to the requirement of their religion and culture. All these years, Malaysians have learned to live in harmony by not only respecting each other's religion and way of life, but also to observe certain decorum in public arena and in their social interaction.

Forcing non-Muslims to observe the requirement of Islam is definitely not in accordance with the spirit of free choice that Malaysians value, and in fact is against the teaching o Islam itself. Further, such regulation is certainly a blatant infringement of non-Muslims' freedom of religion and basic human rights.

It is therefore important for the Rector of the IIUM to give a clear and proper explanation on the matter, and to abolish any regulation which is against the free choice and freedom of religion of its students.


* Chong Eng, DAP Deputy Secretary General and MP for Bukit Mertajam