PETALING JAYA: Controversial preacher Ridhuan Tee Abdullah has proposed the government build Chinese-type religious schools for Muslims to compete against Chinese vernacular schools.
In his weekly column in Malay daily Sinar Harian, Tee said this was the best solution if the government felt that the Chinese language was important in the pursuit of progress and to meet the rise of China’s economic power.
“I’m confident the children of many Muslim converts and other Malays would send their children to these schools and we can compete with other Chinese vernacular schools,” he said, adding that he had proposed this at a round-table conference of Chinese Muslims recently.
Tee’s proposal comes in the wake of UKM Professor Teo Kok Seong’s revelation that more Malay parents were sending their children to Chinese schools.
Teo also said more Malaysian parents wanted their children to learn Mandarin to boost career and business prospects, especially with the emergence of China as an economic superpower.
On a related matter, Tee said it was shocking that the National Education Advisory Council suggested national schools tone down their Malay and Muslim identities in order to attract non-Malay students, whereas vernacular schools were not required to do the same.
He was referring to a statement by Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid that the government would not allow national schools to become “too Islamic”, as Malaysia was a modern Muslim nation.
“Today, national schools are said to be too Malay or too Islamic to the point that non-Malay students and even Malay students have no interest in enrolling,” said Tee.
“The question is whether it is true that national schools are not getting any attention because they’re too Malay and Islamic, or if there are other bigger issues. This is what the council has failed to understand.”
Tee also warned against toning down Malay and Muslim identities, arguing that compromises such as these would result in the country losing its sovereignty altogether.
“If we lose this sovereignty, we will be damned”.