PUTRAJAYA: Minister in charge of religious affairs Mujahid Yusof Rawa has said that Jakim has never banned any festive celebration.
He said this following a Jan 13 circular barring Muslim students from taking part in Ponggal festivities was issued by the education ministry.
Mujahid also clarified that the department was approached to give their opinion on the matter to allay fears of Muslim parents and teachers.
“When we were asked, we gave our opinion. Within that opinion that we gave, we submitted it to the education ministry in the best manner for them to explain it to the concerned parties.“
“How they’re going to say it, it’s not our (Jakim’s) drafting or crafting. It is their crafting. We are not the host, we are just giving our opinion.”
He also put the blame on the education ministry for not wording the circular properly, adding that the issue of barring Muslim students from participating in the festivities was never mentioned in Jakim’s letter to the education ministry.
“Even in our letter, it is clearly stated that there are ways to attend the programme in order to respect the multicultural (society) that we have.”
“The host (education ministry) should be very wise in telling what we have discussed, when we gave them our point of view.“
Meanwhile, he said the RM100 million allocation given to Jakim for upgrades to tahfiz and religious schools was a 50% increase from the 2018 Budget.
Mujahid added that this was proof of the government’s continued commitment in supporting tahfiz and religious schools.
However, schools needed to be registered to receive part of the funding.
Currently, there are 205 “sekolah pondok” religious schools, 1,206 tahfiz schools and 1,880 public and private religious schools that have been registered.
Schools wanting to register will need to apply with their respective state Islamic councils.