Tuesday 10 February 2015

Guidelines don’t forbid Bibles in school, says Shafie

Minister claims if such a ban exists, it is “not right” and can be retracted, but only in Sabah and Sarawak.

PETALING JAYA: Rural and Regional Development Minister, Shafie Apdal said Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) guidelines does not prohibit students from bringing Bibles to school, and added that it may have come from the peninsula, where most of the MRSM students are Muslim.

According to The Star, Shafie said, “If there is such a rule that prevents anyone from practicing their religion, that is not right.

“For Sarawak and Sabah, there is a different approach. If there was such a rule, we can retract it.”

Shafie is responding to allegations of religious discrimination in Sarawak that was published in a news portal last week, where a Christian parent, upon seeing the guidelines of MRSM Kota Samarahan, decided against enrolling his daughter there.

The parent reportedly uploaded the guidelines which said that all religious activities other than that of Islam was not allowed on campus.

Dayak parents in Betong who have children studying at MRSM Betong also took issue with the institution for not allowing their children to keep their Bibles at their hostel last October.

They were also unhappy that male children were being forced to wear songkoks on grounds that it was part of the dress code.

“Many parents have approached me and claim that all this is part of a devious attempt to convert their children to Islam,” said DAP Sarawak Vice-Chairman Leon Jimat Donald.

Last Saturday, DAP Sarawak Chairman, Chong Chieng Jen called on the Sarawak Government to intervene immediately and direct Maktab Rendah Sains MARA (MRSM) colleges in the state to abolish the new (MRSM) Students’ Guidelines introduced.

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