Minister of Education should address tudung and baju kurung issue instead of avoiding it

Press Statement
by Fong Po Kuan

(Ipoh, Tuesday): I call on the Minister of Education Tan Sri Musa Mohamad to address the issue raised by DAP on the requirement imposed on non-Muslim students at the International Islamic University (IIU) to wear the tudung and the compulsory wearing of baju kurung for Ungku Omar Polytechnic students pursuing IT and Commerce courses on Fridays.

According to a press report, Musa had criticized the DAP for playing up the issue of imposing Islamic dress code on non-Muslim students and accused the DAP of specializing on such issue.

It is most irresponsible of the Minister to avoid addressing these pertinent issues which, if left unattended, would continue to create a wrong perception amongst non-Muslims towards the religion of Islam as a result of such imposition of Islamic dress code on non-Muslim students. It would also affect efforts of nation building in creating a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia.

By imposing a regulation requiring a non-Muslim to practice the way of life of another religion as a yardstick to measure or show one's respect to that religion is incorrect. Religious respect is shown by way of understanding each other's religion and the freedom to practice it or otherwise.

In the case of the requirement on non-Muslim students doing IT and commerce courses at the Ungku Omar Polytechnic to wear baju kurung every Friday, the practice has to be put to a stop. A bare denial of such practice compelling the students to wear baju kurung on the specific day is totally unacceptable. We must look at the reality, i.e. the pressure faced by the non-Muslim students.

In view of this, if Musa continues to avoid addressing these issues, he has failed in his role as Education Minister to stop wrongful practices in higher learning institutions and should tender his apology for his arrogance and insensitivity to other communities.

I therefore call on Musa to immediately issue a directive to these institutions to revoke the requirement on non-Muslims to wear tudung and baju kurung respectively as well as issue a directive to all institutions of higher learning directing them to adhere strictly to the policy of the Education Ministry and objectives of the national education system.


* Fong Po Kuan, MP for Batu Gajah and DAP Central Executive Committee Member