Sarawak Churches to Education Minister, “Stop using civil servants to propagate Islam.” He explains that he meant “spread good, not convert”.

20 December 2018


KUCHING, Dec 20 ― DAP’s Bukit Assek state lawmaker Irene Mary Chang today told Education Minister Maszlee Malik to get his priority right by resolving problems relating to education and schools in Sarawak and Sabah, instead of making blundering statements from time to time.

She said he needs to resolve the problems without further delay if he wants to be able to deliver on all the education promises made before the 14th general election (GE14).

“It has been seven months since GE14. And if the time is still too short for his ministry to effect the major reforms needed, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, then the least he can do is not to make statements which offend the sentiments of the people, be it religious or cultural,” she said, referring to Maszlee’s  ”medan dakwah” statement.

Chang said that Maszlee needs to address issues such as the education syllabus for both primary and secondary schools, the dilapidated schools in Sarawak and the recognition of Unified Examination Certificate for Chinese Independent Schools, with urgency.

“I urge him to make real progress on these education issues rather than making statements which either brink on irrelevant things like black shoes and swimming pools in hotels or which would offend the religious and cultural differences like the latest statement on ‘medan dakwah’,” she said.

Chang told Maszlee to verse himself well with the sentiments and the education needs of the people in Sabah and Sarawak.

She said the minister should know by now, judging by the unfavourable response to his statement, that Sarawak’s largely Christian community cannot accept religious propaganda happening to their children in schools.

Chang noted the law provides that religious conversion of children below 16 years old is only allowed with parental consent, pointing out that most parents are already very upset and wary when the previous Barisan Nasional government had allowed peninsular Malaysia religious teachers to convert students in schools in the past.

“There was a huge outcry against it every time it happened and I believe that all those discontentment and unhappiness among the Sarawakians had contributed to the downfall of the BN government,” she said.

With the new Pakatan Harapan government, Chang said the people are hopeful that what had been allowed to happen in the past would not be allowed to happen again.

She said Sarawakians are hopeful that the Education Ministry would focus and concentrate on improving the standard of education in the country.

“The ministry should not only not venture into sensitive issues but should also actively ensure that no one is allow to use schools as a platform to propagate issues which would touch on the sensitivities of the people of Sarawak,” she said.



EDUCATION Minister Maszlee Malik came under heavy fire again, this time, from politicians on both sides of the divide after urging religious teachers in Sabah and Sarawak to make the states new fronts in their Islamic propagation activities.

They described Maszlee as ignorant about the Malaysia Agreement 1963 when it came to matters of religion and slammed him for using civil servants to act as “religious salesmen”.

Taking the cue from Sarawak church leaders who earlier criticised Maszlee, the politicians also demanded that Putrajaya stop using civil servants from carrying out any form of Islamisation in Sabah and Sarawak schools.

PKR national women vice-president Voon Shiak Ni went a step further and demanded that Maszlee retract his “insensitive statement”.

Voon said Maszlee should be aware that his statement not only did not go down well with Sarawakians as it “goes against the wishes of the majority of Sarawakians who are non-Muslims but it was also against the federal constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“I would like to say it would be wiser for Maszlee to retract the statement immediately before it triggers religious tension and disrupts peace and harmony among our people here,” she said.

“Do be mindful of what you are going to say and the messages you are sending to the people (should) be informed and thoughtful of the cultural and racial diversity of Sarawak.”

Sabah’s United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) education bureau chief Dr Lucas Umbul agreed with the general consensus that the school system should not be used to proselytise non-Muslims.

“It should be assisting the development of characters of pupils who come from various faiths,” a disappointed Umbul said in response to Maszlee’s call to make Sabah and Sarawak these teachers’ “medan dakwah”.

“It is not right for the minister to have said such a thing, making Sabah and Sarawak a battleground for them to convert non-Muslims.”

Sabah Assistant Education Minister Jenifer Lasimbang questioned Maszlee if he is educated enough to know the peculiarities and differences between Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula when he made the statement.

Lasimbang said Maszlee’s statement is another proof that policies coming out of Putrajaya are peninsula-centric.

“Aside from school issues, Mazlee must know there are many things to discuss (in the development of education in Sabah).

“There are many things in Sabah that have been neglected. They (Putrajaya) never asked what is happening in Sabah.

“If you look at some of the policies and instructions made at the federal level, all of them were peninsula-centric,” she said.

The president of small Sarawak race-based party, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru ( PBSDB), Cobbold John said the much-maligned Maszlee should focus on the real issues affecting schools in Sarawak, not religious propagation.

John said Maszlee’s use of the term “medan dakwah” to describe Sabah and Sarawak has caused much consternation among party members and supporters.

“Maszlee should be cleaning up, not continuing this religious policy of the ousted Barisan Nasional government.

“This sending of religious teachers from the peninsula to Sarawak and Sabah was a policy with hidden agenda of the previous Umno-led BN government.

“Whatever mess Umno and BN had left behind, Pakatan Harapan must clean up or else the fault of the previous government would continue to be borne by PH,” he said.


19 December 2018


KUCHING: The Federal Government must stop using civil servants or teachers to carry out any form of Islamisation in Sarawak and Sabah, says the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS).

The ACS said it was “deeply concerned” about Education Minister Maszlee Malik’s recent statement in Parliament appealing to religious teachers from Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah who were teaching in Sabah and Sarawak not to return to Peninsular Malaysia.

He urged them to make Sabah and Sarawak their Islamic propagation field (“medan dakwah”).

“The statement by the Education Minister is not in the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and appears to be sanctioning Islamic religious teachers from Peninsular Malaysia to promote Islamisation and propagation to local students in non-religious schools in Sabah and Sarawak,” ACS said in a statement.

“If West Malaysian teachers were to make Sabah and Sarawak their medan dakwah, it could make the atmosphere in and outside schools intimidating, and the local students and parents may feel uneasy and no proper learning can take place.

“While the practice of sending teachers from Peninsular Malaysia to serve in Sabah and Sarawak may alleviate teacher shortage in the interim, teachers who are public servants should not be used as a tool to promote Islamisation in Sabah and Sarawak,” it added.

The ACS called on the federal government to honour the undertakings of religious freedom and Borneanisation of the public service as guaranteed in the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report 1963, the Malaysia Agreement and the Federal Constitution.

“The majority of the people of Sarawak are non-Muslims, and the Sarawak Constitution provides for a secular government and society where Islam is not the state religion of Sarawak.

“It is clearly stated in the IGC report that there should be no application to the Borneo states of any federal requirements regarding religious education,” it said.

In addition, the ACS said the IGC report also called for the Borneonisation of public services in Sarawak and Sabah as a major policy objective to protect the interests of the indigenous peoples of both states.

“Fifty-five years after the formation of Malaysia, the promises and assurance of Borneonisation have yet to be fulfilled.

“There would be sufficient qualified Islamic religious teachers from Sabah and Sarawak by now to teach in local schools if the government had honoured their promise of Borneonisation of the public service in Sabah and Sarawak,” the ACS said.




Dear Tun,

This is beyond pale. He is the Education Minister. Not the Religious Minister. He is appealing to the ustaz and ustazah from Kelantan, Terengganu & Kedah who are teaching in Sabah and Sarawak to remain in Sabah and Sarawak to spread Islam. To make it their “medan dakwah”!!???

What do we have here? An evangelist Cabinet Minister who is entrusted to educate our children but have the stupidity and temerity to advocate evangelism by civil servant teachers to carry out in Sabah and Sarawak.

This person is not fit to be a Minister what more the Education Minister. Please kick him out of the cabinet. There are so many negative feedback about this education Minister already. He is telling the ustaz and ustazah to make Sabah and Sarawak their battleground for Islamisation and Islamic evangelism! And this is in Parliament!

Do we not have enough of Islamisation (unfriendly version mind you) promoted and manipulated by political parties as it is?? He is supposed to look at our education objectively.

Is it any wonder our young Malays are unable to think rationally? Becoming more and more extreme and intend in implementing everything to their minds as purportedly Islamic.

Enough is enough

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