Sabah MP wants all faiths to be taught in schools
AT a time when arguments in the Dewan on the status of Islam and other religions in the country are becoming increasingly emotional, a Sabahan MP has suggested that all faiths be taught to students in schools.
Datuk Siringan Gubat (BN – Ranau) said this was the practice in his school when he was growing up.
“Besides Islam, which is the official religion, we also had classes on other faiths for students from other religious groups.
“Perhaps, one of the reasons for the high incidence of delinquency among youths is the lack of religious classes in schools,” he pointed out when debating on the Education (Amendment) Bill.
Siringan said although parents were responsible for the religious upbringing of their children, the conditions for learning at schools were different from those at home.
“The teaching at home is probably not equal to that in schools. Is the Government willing to reinstate the teaching of other faiths into the national education system?” he asked.
Siringan stressed that although the teaching of these faiths should not be compulsory in all schools, students should be given a choice to follow the classes.
Some Opposition MPs had expressed reservations over some of the clauses in the Bill, which aimed to amend the names of teachers’ colleges into institutes.
“For instance, the clause requiring an institute to seek written approval from the Education Ministry for the teaching of any additional subject further restricts teaching in these colleges,” Khalid Samad (PAS – Shah Alam) pointed out.
Che Uda Che Nik (PAS – Sik) argued that Clauses 44 and 49, whereby the ministry would have the final say over policy and administration over teachers’ colleges, would have a negative impact.
Dr D. Jeyakumar (PKR – Sungai Siput) said the proposed amendments would give more “high-handedness” towards the executive in the planning of teachers’ education in the country.