Mujahid wants action taken on Education Ministry official
Published on: Sunday, January 19, 2020
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NIBONG TEBAL: Minister in charge of Islamic affairs Mujahid Yusof Rawa (pic) said stern action must be taken against the education official who issued a circular claiming Ponggal is haram (forbidden) in Islam as advised by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim).

He said this was because Jakim had never said it was “haram” to attend the Tamil harvest festival. Instead, it had said it was permissible for Muslims to take part in the celebration as long as the Islamic ethics were observed.

“My wife’s a teacher at a school in Nibong Tebal with many Indian students. Her school has been taking part in Ponggal, with observing Islamic ethics for many years,”he said.

Mujahid questioned the official from the Ministry for distorting the contents of the letter.

“You (the official) used words such as ‘terpaksa’ (forced to) and ‘haram’, come on lah. We said Ponggal is permissible, so long as Islamic ethics are observed.

“We demand stern action on the person who wrote the letter and later blamed Jakim for making the decision. Have some pity on me and Jakim.”

The letter Mujahid was referring to was an education ministry circular issued on the eve of Ponggal to all school heads.

The Jan 13 circular stated that Jakim had declared taking part in Ponggal rituals was “haram”, especially the act of boiling milk, which was the main event of the Tamil harvest festival.

It was written by the ministry’s education and teaching institutions deputy registrar Adzman Talib.

Mujahid also took a swipe at pro-moderation group, G25, and challenged them to take over the duties of Jakim and National Council for Islamic Affairs (NCIA).

“We are managing so many things, the one million kafa students, 30,000 kafa teachers, the halal certification and halal industry so if they think we are unconstitutional, why don’t they come and manage all these, take all of these responsibilities and manage it and tell us how we use the RM1.3 billion allocation,” he said in his speech.

He said the country’s halal certification, which was established since the 1980s, is one of the best in the world.

“If they say we are unconstitutional, are they saying the halal certification is not valid?” he asked.

G25 had released a report titled, “Administration of Matters Pertaining to Islam”, which claimed there were no provisions in the constitution for Jakim and NCIA to be set up.

He said Malaysia has a large share in the global halal industry which comes up to US$2 trillion (RM8.1 trillion).

“By saying we are unconstitutional, it will affect our halal industry and everyone in the industry as we are in charge of the industry,” he said.

He reminded G25 that if they wanted a debate on such matters, they should have left it to the academics instead of opening it up on a public platform.

“They could make it a debate among scholars but if they put it outside like this, the public doesn’t know anything, it will affect the 30,000 kafa teachers, the one million kafa students, the halal industry,” he said.

He said it was wrong of G25 to release such a controversial report at a time when racial and religious tension is high.

“This is not helping the situation at all,” he said.- FMT



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