Kafa Ihsan module: Hands off our national education, NGO tells JAKIM!

WITH the Government mulling to introduce Kafa Ihsan subject in national schools, the Global Human Rights Federation told the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) to stay away from the national education syllabus.  

“Why is JAKIM meddling in our education system? What’s their intention here? Do you see any other religions imposing their views on the education system? 

“JAKIM should just stick its portfolio and deal with religious schools. They have no business in interfering with the Education Ministry (MOE),” its president S Shashi Kumar told FocusM.  

Three days ago, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Idris Ahmad announced that the Government would be introducing a Fardu Ain Basic Class (Kafa) Ihsan module to all secondary school students in the near future. 

As of now, he added that the module was still in the final evaluation process by JAKIM.  

Kafa Ihsan is an elective subject which is not compulsory for students but they are encouraged to take it.  

“It is different from the Islamic Education subject because it will focus more on the added value of students’ personal development and leadership apart from matters of worship,” Bernama reported him as saying.  

However, several groups have raised concerns over the plan, with G25 member Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin saying national schools should be focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects. 

“I believe national schools should have fewer religious classes and more time devoted to English, Mathematics and Science subjects. 

“We should not try to turn our students into ustaz and ustazah as there are already many of them. Religious classes should instead include ethics as an important component,” The Star reported her as saying.  

The Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim echoed Farida’s sentiments, adding JAKIM does not have any jurisdiction in schools.  

“The teaching of Islam as we know is state-controlled under the Islamic Religious Council and as such, should not be allowed to encroach into the MOE’s work,” she was reported as saying.  

It is to note that in Dec 2018, then-prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad lamented that national schools were turning into “religious schools”, at the expense of youngsters not having the skills required needed to meet future demands.  

“They are all learning about religion and not learning anything else. They make good ulama. When you have too many ulama, they differ from each other and mislead their followers and quarrel with each other. 

“We will still study religion but not during all the periods in a day; maybe just one or two periods,” Free Malaysia Today reported him as saying.  

Spook non-Muslims even further!  

Touching on the matter, Shashi Kumar reminded right-wing groups who are calling for vernacular schools to be abolished that this was the reason why non-Muslim parents prefer to send their children to Chinese or Tamil-medium schools these days.  

“Mahathir explained it clearly for everyone to understand. National schools have become religious schools. 

“Instead of nurturing our youths to excel in skills that will help them to meet future challenges, we are indoctrinating them using religion,” he noted.  

Shashi Kumar recalled an incident in Oct 2019, where Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah (YADIM) had sought MOE’s permission to conduct proselytisation work in schools and public institutions of higher learnings, in which they received green light.  

“And if you recall the Jawi khat controversy, we told the MOE clearly during a meeting that we were not against it but just don’t incorporate it in the Bahasa Malaysia subject. Just introduce it as an elective subject.  

“But the MOE was coy on it. In fact, they even told us that they can’t promise that the module will be kept within the confines of 6-pages in the future and would not be introduced in exams later.  

“You now understand why non-Muslims are shying away from national schools,” he quipped.  

Back to JAKIM, Shashi Kumar urged the former to rein in on incendiary Islamic preachers spreading falsehood on other religions instead of meddling in MOE’s affairs.  

“Though an elective subject, it’s wrong for them to introduce the subject in national schools. While our leaders may claim it’s good, can you tell me how many of our MPs and ministers are actually sending their own kids to national schools?  

“The reality is, our politicians themselves realise how messed up our education system is. That’s why they send their children to private and internationals schools. Some even send their kids to the very Chinese schools they want to close down!” he mentioned.  

Shashi Kumar also agreed with Noor Azimah’s assessment that Islam falls under the purview of the state Rulers, and JAKIM may be breaching into states’ authority in this case.  

“In any case, all religions teach their followers good morals and ethics. Hence, there is no need for this Kafa Ihsan subject to be introduced in national schools,” he remarked. – Jan 30, 2022.  

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